Q: In 2020, I lived in a three-bedroom condo with two roommates. All of us signed the rent, however every folks paid parts of the protection deposit at once to the owner. We additionally the paid the hire in 3 separate tests. Right through the pandemic, one roommate moved again house and stopped paying hire, whilst the opposite roommate and I stayed throughout the finish of the rent and paid our parts of the hire on time. Once we moved out on the finish of the rent, we left the condo in just right situation, but if it got here time to get our safety deposit again, the owner withheld the cash as a result of our former roommate. Can the owner do that? What are my felony choices to recoup my portion of that cash?
A: While you and your roommates signed the rent, all of you assumed accountability for the phrases of the settlement, so all of you might be at the hook for anything else that is going mistaken. If any individual broken the partitions or painted a room turquoise with out permission, you could be accountable for the prices, even though you weren’t the offender. The similar is going for unpaid hire: You’re accountable for all of the hire, now not simply your portion of it. The owner can withhold your safety deposit over any unpaid hire.
“For the reason that there was once unpaid hire, the owner was once totally inside their rights to withhold all of the safety, and the remainder tenants haven’t any declare for it,” stated Samuel Himmelstein, a Big apple legal professional who represents tenants.
Your legal responsibility extends past the protection deposit — the 3 of you continue to owe the owner no matter hire your roommate didn’t pay. The owner may just sue you and your two roommates for the remainder unpaid hire, or flip the exceptional debt over to a suite company, which might come after you for the steadiness. Stay an eye fixed out for a letter from a suite company. If the owner walks clear of the loss, imagine your self fortunate.
The situation you described isn’t unusual. Many New Yorkers, frequently dealing with task losses, moved out of town all over the pandemic, leaving roommates at the hook. Should you ever to find your self in a equivalent state of affairs once more, know that the state’s hire regulations can help you discover a new roommate. You don’t want your landlord’s permission or approval to try this — you’ll be able to merely to find an individual keen to hire the room, acquire the hire at once from that individual, and pay it to the owner. This is able to have allowed you to pay hire in complete for the remainder of the time period, and acquire your safety deposit on the finish.