What can I do if I subleased an apartment but the new management company says that I owe $7,000?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What can I do if I subleased an apartment but the new management company says that I owe $7,000?

We did a complete transfer of responsibility. The leasing office took his license and check stubs. That complex has been bought by another company and they’re telling me I owe them $7000. I can’t track down the guy I have my apartment to but have emails proving he met me 6 months ago at the apartments.

Asked on August 4, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You write that you sublet the property. The issue is, was it a sublease or an assignment? If it was a sublease, you remained responsible to the landlord (or the landlord's successor), even if in practice, the subtenant paid them directly, whereas with an assignment, the new tenant stepped into your place, took over from you, and released you from all responsibility. 

Most leases do NOT allow assignments--check your lease. A clause forbidding an assignment is legal and enforceable. If assignments were prohibited, then this would have been a sublease and you remained responsible to the landlord for all amounts due under the lease. 

Even if your lease did not prevent assignments, you need to carefully review the terms of the agreement between you and the new tenant to see if it was an assignment or  a sublease. If in doubt, consult with an attorney. Again, only if it was a valid assignment would you have been released from responsibility or liability under your lease for unpaid rent.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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