What am I responsible for when I leave a house that I’ve been living in if there was nolease?

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What am I responsible for when I leave a house that I’ve been living in if there was nolease?

I have been living in a home since 2007. A friend bought it with the intention that I would buy it within 2 years after I repaired my credit and saved for a deposit. My financial situation has worsened and I have not been able to keep up with payments. I’ve been in almost 4 years, and when asked what I was going to do, friend said that I could leave at the end of December. He said he needed me out by the end of the month because he needed to rent it for December. With only 2-1/2 weeks to vacate, he keeps adding more and more to a bill of over $6000 so far. What am I legally responsible for? There is no contract regarding any of this.

Asked on November 22, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) If there is no lease (or contract) you were a month-to-month tenant. That means that the tenancy could be ended on 30 days notice, and if you were the one ending it, if you didn't provide 30 days notice, you are responsible for one months rent as you leave.

2) More significantly, even as a month-to-month tenant, if you were supposed to pay rent for any past months but did not, you may be held liable for any amounts you should have paid.

3) You are responsible for any physical damage you did or extraordinary cleaning required by your actions. So you are not responsible for ordinary wear and tear, but if you scratch up hardwood floors, spilled red wine on a rug, broke an appliance, etc., you are responsible for that.

4) If you were paying utilities, so that there reasonably could be contstrued to be an implied contract (even if there was no explicit or express contract) that you'd pay them, you be responsible for them for the time you lived there; any amounts not previously paid, if you should have paid them, the owner can collect for.


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