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Roommate Problems

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Brooklyn, NY

It all started 7 months ago when one of my 2 roommate left the lease (.com layoff) leaving me and my roommate (we can call him mr. x.) to pay her part of the rent.

The legal problem started 2 weeks ago when Mr.X decided to leave because he could no long afford to live in our apt.

He replaced himself with another person (call him Mr. Y) He asked Mr. Y to pay him the first and last months rent. Only a week ago he decided that he was going to keep the last mo. rent for himself because ever since our 3rd roommate moved out 7 mo. ago we have both had to pay her part of the rent and he thinks that taking the subletters last mo. rent as backpay is ok. But, this leaves me and Mr Y. short for the rent.

Problems are that Mr. X never made a sublet agreement so Mr. Y never signed anything....only the check. I have many emails between Mr. X and I where which show that he had taken the money with the intent of giving it to the landlord but, at some point changed his mind.

Really troubled...is there anything I can do legally?
Any advice would be appreciated...Thanks




This is a bit complex. Assuming that the original lease was in the name of yourself and the original two roommates, and assuming the lease was not changed when the first roommate left, then you and the original roommate are liable for the rent. In most cases, the landlord could sue any or all of you for any payments not made.

However, if any one of the three of you does not pay the 1/3 share, then any of the others that do pay that amount can sue the one who did not pay for their share. In other words, you and Mr. X have a cause of action against the first roommate who left for her share.

If you have to pay rent that Mr x should have paid, you have a valid claim against Mr x for his share.


Yes, this is very complicated.

When our 3rd roommate left she wrote to our landlord and had her name taken off the lease. However because she felt so guilty about leaving she contiuned to pay a portion of the rent.

What Mr. X doesn't realize is that he is responsible for half the rent even though our 3rd roommate would help out.

So, basically my question are.

1) By writing our landlord a note to have her name taken off the lease does this mean that she is no longer responsible for 1/3 the rent. Leaving Mr X. and I to take on the lease.

2) Mr X asked for an amount over the amount that he was responsible for in our lease and pocketed the last months rent thus having the intent to pay less than he is responsible for. Is it illegal to charge over what you are responsible for and pocket the rest?

3) Can Mr X have his name taken off the lease with out my permission?

4) Do I have grounds to sue?

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