How to get reimbursement money from someone that was staying with you?

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How to get reimbursement money from someone that was staying with you?

My friend moved in 6 months ago. She agreed to pay 1/3 of the bills and a witness/mutual friend was present. She moved out 3 days ago and decided that she wasn’t going to pay me the money she owed. She only paid $150 a month and her bills were $440 a month. Will this hold up in small claims court?

Asked on April 4, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Oral (or verbal) leases or subleases are enforceable, so if your friend was supposed to pay 1/3 of the bills--if that was her rent--you may sue her for the unpaid amount. Whether it will "hold up"  in small claims court depends on how much evidence--including witness testimony, such as that of your mutual friend--is on each person's side, and also how persuasive the different witnesses are. Basically, if you can convince the court that the agreement was made and the friend only paid $X out of $Y, you can win. Bear in mind that as the person suing, the burden of proof is on you; that is, you need a bit more than "half" the evidence (so to speak) on your side. This is often expressed as it has to 51% likely that you version is correct.


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