If my roommate can’t afford the rent and my landlord sued both of us but I paid my part, am I responsible for the fees?

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If my roommate can’t afford the rent and my landlord sued both of us but I paid my part, am I responsible for the fees?

I’m foreign and I’m not in the states now so I can’t make it to the hearing. Is that going to go to my credit? They don’t have my SSN. What’s the best I can do now?

Asked on July 7, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you are responsible for paying. When you and your roommate signed the lease, you both collectively and individually became legally responsible for fullfilling the terms of the lease, including payment of the full rent. This obligation is known as "joint and several liability". What this means for you is that since your roommate hasn't paid their share of the rent, you are liable for it.

If your landlord wins a judgement against the both of you in court, a certainty if you do not attend the hearing, then he can have a notation put on your credit report; it's not that difficult to get a person's SSN. You may want to place a call into an attorney who handles landlord-tenant cases to find out more. In the meantime, see if you can work out a payment arrangement with your landlord.

Additionally, you all have the right to take your roommate to court and sue for any money that you are out-of-pocket becausee of their non-payment. Once you gave been granted a judgment, you could then have the notation of the judgement placed on your delinquent roomate's credit report. Why don't you inform them of this and see if that prompts them to come up with their share of the rent. Otherwise, you can garnish their wages and/or bank account (although it may not be worth your time and trouble to do so).


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