Can I sue for half of the debt I had to pay on my former roommates behalf??

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Can I sue for half of the debt I had to pay on my former roommates behalf??

I signed a lease with another girl 2 years ago but shortly after we had to move out. The landlord charged us $8700 (early termination fee). We were not able to pay it right away and the debt was sent to a collection agency. After years of negotiation on my part I was able to work out a settlement. I’m willing to pay it in full but I’m afraid the other party won’t do the same. Is there any way I can recover half of what I paid to the collection agency?

Asked on November 19, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your roommate would also be responsible for the early termination fee. If she won't pay her share of the settlement you come to in regards to that fee, you could sue her for it. You would sue her on the basis of the lease--she was contractually obligated to contribute to the early termination fee if she, like you, terminated early. You could retain an attorney to sue or else try reprsenting yourself (to save legal fees), such as in small claims court. Suing her is the only way you could obtain payment, if she does not pay voluntarily.


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