If my name was not on the lease but I paid for part of the deposit, canI sue my roommate for the return of my share?

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If my name was not on the lease but I paid for part of the deposit, canI sue my roommate for the return of my share?

My name was not on the lease for our NJ apartment, but I paid for part of the damage deposit and my previous roommate is refusing to pay me my share. Can I take him to small claims court? I have email correspondence stating a roommate agreement between us and records of me paying the damage deposit, rent and utility bills. I also have email correspondence from him acknowledging that I paid part of the damage deposit, and deserve my share back. Since then it has been two months and he hasn’t contact me and refuses to respond to emails and phone calls and has not sent me any money. What should I do?

Asked on August 4, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, New Jersey

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your roommate for breach of contract (the roommate agreement) in Small Claims Court.  The e-mail correspondence and the payment records will provide evidence supporting your claim for breach of contract.  If you have a copy of the contract, use that as evidence of the existing agreement in addition to your e-mail correspondence.  If you don't have a copy of the contract, your e-mail correspondence will provide evidence of the existence of the contract.

Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover) should include the amount your roommate owes plus interest and court costs.  Court costs would include the court filing fee and process server fee.


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