Can my ex-roommate sue me for lost rent and deposit?

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Can my ex-roommate sue me for lost rent and deposit?

My ex-roommate is suing me for her rent from when she moved out until termination of the lease (11 days total) as well as lost deposit due to early lease termination. I was leaving due to feeling unsafe living with her, and she insisted on leaving as well. When our landlord was reluctant to terminate before finding new tenants, I agreed through email to stay at our house and take over the rent if she moved out. Our landlord then told us that interested new tenants wanted to move in ASAP, so I moved out as well. This fell through, so our landlord agreed to terminate our lease early.

Asked on May 13, 2012 under Accident Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) If you agreed to take over the rent and then violated that agreement for any reason, your ex-roommate may sue you for that breach, to recover her losses under it. It does not matter, from your ex-roommate's perspective, what the landlord said to you--the agreement was between you and the ex-roommate, not you, her, and the landlord.

2) However, you should not be liable to the landlord, and should have a good defense to liability (and to recover the security deposit) based on the fact that you moved out pursuant to an agreement with the landlord. Even if the landlord's deal/lease/etc. with the new prospective tenants feel through, the landlord cannot hold you (or your ex-roommate) liable for rent and security deposit if  you only moved out because the landlord asked you to do so and offered to let you out of the lease.

If the landlord has already taken the security deposit and/or other amounts from you, you should sue the landlord to recover those sums, based on the fact that the landlord has breached his/her agreement with you. So the ex-roommate can sue you, but you should be able to sue the landlord in turn, based on what you write.


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