Is a renter of a room whom did not sign a lease responsible to pay for repairs in an apartment they happened to occupy but did not do?

UPDATED: Jun 12, 2009

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Is a renter of a room whom did not sign a lease responsible to pay for repairs in an apartment they happened to occupy but did not do?

I lived in a room in an apartment my aunt occupied for 5 years before her death. She accrued considerable amounts of damage to the apartment. She used the same bathroom as I did. I was told by my family I had to pay for the repairs on the shower because it was “mine” even thought my aunt used the shower as well. I never signed into the lease, and did not live in the apartment for the entire 5 years my aunt did, I lived in it maybe a total of 1.5 years. Am I legally responsible for damages I have not fully commited, and never legally bound myself to the apartment as she did??

Asked on June 12, 2009 under Real Estate Law, California


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

This is an interesting question, and it may depend on other factual details that you haven't mentioned, such as how long you've been living there alone since your aunt passed away among quite a few others.  There are some variations in this area of the law, among the states, and I'm not a California attorney. So you need to have a review of your entire case by a lawyer in your area, for a reliable understanding of your rights and obligations here.  There are simply too many possiblities here for me to even venture much of a guess.  One place you can find a lawyer to get into the details, and give you advice you can act upon, is our website,

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