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Old 12-16-2008, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Kansas
609 posts, read 1,052,621 times
Reputation: 350
Unhappy Former Apartment Issues: I Owe Money

Hello everyone. Usually I give out advice but today a situation came up and stumped me.

In June I got a place with a "friend" of mine. We were both kind of tight on money because he had just gotten a DUI and I had to pay a hefty fine for having no car insurance when I was pulled over. We managed to pay rent anyway but we were stressed with money issues.

In July, I left town for a week to volunteer at a camp for kids who are deaf. I came back and got really sick and was hospitalized for a few days. My whole life I've had a kidney disease and I have had a kidney transplant.

In August, a few days after being released I was told by my doctors to go back and live with my Mom in another town. My "friend" said that he was fine and that he had the money and would have his sister move in. I went ahead and paid Augusts' rent and electicity bill but never lived more than 2 days in August.

A few weeks later, his parents start making threatening calls saying that I owe him money. He messages me on Facebook saying that I owe him money. Apparently his sister decided not to move in so he says that I owe him 4 months rent now.

Today, the landlord of the apartment said that I owe $1400 and that I was still part of the lease! In August, I was told to only send the documents of my hospital visit and then they would take off my name on the lease. I would also have an eviction on my record.

Now, I've been chronically ill my whole life. After August my health has seriously deterioted. I've been hospitalized three times in the past 5 months. August, October, and then two weeks ago. Two weeks ago I was in a coma for 4 days.

I have court now Thursday morning (just was notified of this) because of the money that I owe. So my questions are:

1) Looks like my landlord fooled me, how can I prove that the landlord said not to worry about being taken off the lease?
2) Do I have to owe that much money even though I don't live there?
3) Am I going to have to sue anyone here?
4) What should I bring to court?

Sorry this is soo long but I really need some advice. Thanks to anyone who responds and I will give rep points for good answers.
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,338 posts, read 9,460,127 times
Reputation: 2161
Read the lease. It probably says you both are"jointly and severably liable for the rent". that means if one leaves the other is still liable for the full rent. You continue to be obligated for the lease.
Questions:
did your friend pay the rent? If he paid the rent in full, you are not obligated to pay the LL again.
Who said you would be taken off the lease? the landlord? if he said that, you needed it in writing.
If your friend paid the rent, then the LL cannot collect from you also. if your friend only paid half the rent, you are still obligated for the other half.
The LL cannot collect for rent if your friend paid the full rent. That would be double dipping.
If your fiend did not pay the rent and was evicted, then your evicted also and liable for the uncollected rent and probably for legal fees also.
Read the lease.
Take the lease to court and explain what happened. Take any and all receipts or cancelled checks, including the receipts or cancelled checks for money you paid your friend for August.
The judge will have to determine who owes what and to who it is owed.
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:42 PM
 
Location: A little suburb of Houston
3,701 posts, read 10,637,333 times
Reputation: 1864
And if you have to pay, be sure to sue your friend to get most of the money back. He had a duty to pay his half of the rent, he was also responsible to try to find a new person to share the apartment.
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Old 12-16-2008, 06:46 PM
 
Location: southern california
47,957 posts, read 43,402,587 times
Reputation: 38736
i regret, cant provide you will legal advice. and i wont ask for rep points.
i am so sorry you were very ill.
i am thinking, i cant help but feel the roommate should have done more to cover for you.
if they take this one to court i feel that the judge would take your condition into account in debt settlement decision.
could you please speak to your local legal aid. the medical care provider perhaps has a social worker that can give you are referral for this purpose?
get well soon.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Kansas
609 posts, read 1,052,621 times
Reputation: 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaneSA View Post
Read the lease. It probably says you both are"jointly and severably liable for the rent". that means if one leaves the other is still liable for the full rent. You continue to be obligated for the lease. I'm still looking for it
Questions:
did your friend pay the rent? If he paid the rent in full, you are not obligated to pay the LL again. He has paid for some of his rent but obviously not all of it. Last I checked he was also taking classes or AA stuff due to his DUI which he had to pay some costs...
Who said you would be taken off the lease? the landlord? if he said that, you needed it in writing. The landlord. The one who said that it would all be taken care of does not work there now.
If your friend paid the rent, then the LL cannot collect from you also. if your friend only paid half the rent, you are still obligated for the other half.
The LL cannot collect for rent if your friend paid the full rent. That would be double dipping. My "friend" paid his half of the rent sometimes not all of it.
If your fiend did not pay the rent and was evicted, then your evicted also and liable for the uncollected rent and probably for legal fees also.
Read the lease. I received an email from the apartments saying due to non-payment, "we" would be evicted at the end of December (this month).
Take the lease to court and explain what happened. Take any and all receipts or cancelled checks, including the receipts or cancelled checks for money you paid your friend for August. Hopefully I can do it tomorrow if the snowstorm would go away. Mind you court is in less than 36 hours lol.
The judge will have to determine who owes what and to who it is owed. Yeah it's probably going to be me whose gonna owe the money. It would take months to pay it all because of my medications, rent at my mom's, etc. Plus I can't get a second job b/c 1) That means a higher risk of going back to the hospital and 2) If I make a certain amount over what I get for disability, they take it away. Mind you I'm 19 so I don't have a career and I only make about 13k a year w/o disability
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poltracker View Post
And if you have to pay, be sure to sue your friend to get most of the money back. He had a duty to pay his half of the rent, he was also responsible to try to find a new person to share the apartment.
I probably will depending on the outcome of Thursday's hearing but if I have to pay the amount of money that is owed how am I going to pay for all the court costs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huckleberry3911948 View Post
i regret, cant provide you will legal advice. and i wont ask for rep points.
i am so sorry you were very ill.
i am thinking, i cant help but feel the roommate should have done more to cover for you.
if they take this one to court i feel that the judge would take your condition into account in debt settlement decision.
could you please speak to your local legal aid. the medical care provider perhaps has a social worker that can give you are referral for this purpose?
get well soon.
Thanks. I hate to pull the pity thing but it does work in my favor. I was looking forward to week off work and enjoy the snow but I guess I can never catch a break.

Thanks to everyone whose given me advice.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Maryland
1,668 posts, read 5,125,665 times
Reputation: 1468
I'd have to agree with those saying that, "If it ain't in writing, it didn't happen". Sorry, but contracts don't have provisions for health, or whether the place is actually occupied. Only that those on the lease agreement are obligated to pay certain obligations. Word of mouth changes are worth $ZERO.oo. The only way to change a written contract is with a written amendment. You may publically appeal to a mediator to request some leniency, but you really are expected to fulfill your part of the contract. Your landlord did. Try a local real estate attorney who may know most landlords in your area personally. Best of luck with this.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Kansas
609 posts, read 1,052,621 times
Reputation: 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by ESFP View Post
I'd have to agree with those saying that, "If it ain't in writing, it didn't happen". Sorry, but contracts don't have provisions for health, or whether the place is actually occupied. Only that those on the lease agreement are obligated to pay certain obligations. Word of mouth changes are worth $ZERO.oo. The only way to change a written contract is with a written amendment. You may publically appeal to a mediator to request some leniency, but you really are expected to fulfill your part of the contract. Your landlord did. Try a local real estate attorney who may know most landlords in your area personally. Best of luck with this.
This is why I didn't want to get an apartment in the first place: Landlords who take advantage of first time and/or young renters. Yes, I did read over the lease and I remember seeing something about if something was to come up due to an illness.... I'm in the process of trying to locate those papers but I've moved twice since I left the apartments.

The landlord said to give documents saying that I fell ill and then I'd be taken off the lease since my roommate at first arrangements for a person to replace me. This just p***es me off that 1) his sister (supposed to take my place) backed out of the move and 2) the landlord said just to provide documents and everything was good.
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:54 PM
 
13,118 posts, read 23,405,339 times
Reputation: 7378
It's a case of a series of unfortunate circumstances...

The question I would ask is did the Owner cause or create any of them? It sounds like the owner was trying to work with you by allowing the sister to take your place.

Everything goes back to the written lease...

As far as taking advantage of a first time renter by renting to you ... I hear the opposite a lot about owners unwilling to give first-time renters a chance. You lost me on the part about not wanting to get an apartment in the first place...

When did you formally notify the Owner of your move out and intention not to return? Sixteen weeks is a long time for the rent to go unpaid.

Your best case may be to go after the sister for breach if she had indeed agreed to move in and reneged.

As I understand it, the owner can only look to you and/or your room mate for recovery, as parties to the lease.

Glad your doing better now. I'm not an advocate of Bankruptcy, but your situation is the reason there is a Bankruptcy Statute.

Last edited by Ultrarunner; 12-16-2008 at 11:11 PM..
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Montrose, CA
3,031 posts, read 5,330,748 times
Reputation: 1816
First off let me say I'm sorry you have medical problems. Now, here comes the BUT...

BUT...your medical problems don't make the landlord's bills go away. He still has to pay his mortgage, utilities, upkeep, et cetera. Your medical problems also do not make your roommate liable for the full bill. You didn't cover your arse, you didn't take care of your business, and you didn't get anything in writing. It's on you to pay the rent that you owe, kidney problems or not.
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Kansas
609 posts, read 1,052,621 times
Reputation: 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuSuSushi View Post
First off let me say I'm sorry you have medical problems. Now, here comes the BUT...

BUT...your medical problems don't make the landlord's bills go away. He still has to pay his mortgage, utilities, upkeep, et cetera. Your medical problems also do not make your roommate liable for the full bill. You didn't cover your arse, you didn't take care of your business, and you didn't get anything in writing. It's on you to pay the rent that you owe, kidney problems or not.
I totally understand that the manager's/landlord/whoever has to pay their bills.

I trusted my landlord when she said that all I needed was to provide documents of my hospital visit and medical history and then I'd be written off the lease and then the sister would be put on it when she was ready to move in.

I forgot to mention that in October I was going to give my roommate money for rent (even I wasn't living there). I left him messages and calls but then his folks started threatening me and my family so I didn't want to stop by our old place.

I guess overall I'm just upset on how I didn't do the obvious: get a written statement of being released from the lease. I don't want to point fingers but I somehow blame the landlord who was working at the time.

I wouldn't have moved if my "friend's" sister changed her mind. My health was stable prior to the move but since then it's seriously deterioted. 3 hospital visits, a spinal tap, coma, CAT scans and I'm paying for some of these. My insurance doesn't cover everything.

Court is tomorrow. I feel like this may not be a good outcome... We'll see and I'll let y'all know. Thanks again.
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