How Can I Make My Former Roommate Pay His Share of the Bills?

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I have a roommate that signed a 1 year lease agreement. One month later he has moved out and left myself and other roommate stuck with all the rent and other bills. We live in Kentucky. Is there anyway to make him pay his share until we find another roommate?

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Generally, the responsibility for rent is all about who has actually signed the lease. You said the ex-roommate signed the lease; did you sign it also? If so, you’re both responsible for the rent. If it was just him, then you could very likely move out and not owe anyone a dime. (Obviously, if you stay there, you don’t get to stay for free.)

Step one is to carefully read the lease. It may have provisions for what happens on a breach, or what subleasing rights you do or don’t have. But given the dollar amounts involved, you’re probably looking at a small claims action. If the ex-roommate won’t listen to reason (“Hey, you need to pony up for the rent until we find someone to replace you.”), then after you find a replacement–and therefore know exactly how much you’ve lost–take him to small claims court. You have a good chance of winning, and if you lose, well, small claims court is cheap.

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Author: House Attorney