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Can Landlord sue me?

Discussion in 'Roomate & Joint Leases' started by Guillaume, Dec 13, 2004.

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  1. Guillaume

    Guillaume Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I'm in desperate need of advice with my current rental position. The case concerns a house in the state of Pennsylvania (PA).

    I live in a house with three (3) other tenants. There is one lease for the whole house, of which we all signed. Actually, at this point I should specify that someone else signed my name for me on the lease...which leaves me to wonder if the lease is valid at all.

    Since I have occupied the house, I have paid my share of the rent, on time. Our landlord sends us Excel worksheets time to time which show that I have indeed paid my rent. The sheet lists the four tenants by name and then shows the amount they have paid for each month. (I have saved these documents)

    I am worried because two of the other tenants have not paid their rent on time, and I am afraid the Landlord will sue me to recover these costs.

    The lease makes no mention of liability if one does not pay rent.
    In reference to non payment of rent, the lease states:

    "Violation of any part of this Agreement or nonpayment of rent when due shall be cause for eviction under applicable code sections. The prevailing party (shall) recover reasonable legal service fees involved."

    Does this mean that the Landlord can evict all of us or the two nonpaying tenants?
    He has made no mention of eviction.
    He has orally told me on the phone that I am responsible for my share (1/4th) of the rent and then also orally told me that if one tenant does not pay, everyone else is responsible.

    It is not clear to me what my liability in this case is.
    Is the lease considered invalid because someone else signed my name?
    Can I be sued for the two tenants' nonpayment?
    Would I be sued ALONE or would all the signers of the lease be sued? (Or possibly me and the other tenant that has paid rent)
    If I am sued, does the landlord have any case against me?

    I would appreciate any legal advice.
  2. mike

    mike Moderator

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    Unfortunately I believe you are reading everything correctly. When you are in a roomate situation, 99.9% of the time each of you is jointly and severally liable -- each of you is responsible for your share and can be sued for the entire amount of the lease if your roomates skip town. It's not a great situation to be in and why you need to ensure that your roomates are trustworthy.

    Regarding your not signing the lease technically, I might arge that it is moot since you permitted someone else to sign for you. You gave them authority. Regardless of whether at that time they had your blessing, you ratified this signature on the lease by continuing to live on the premises and accepting the terms of the lease.

    I'm hoping that you are just being proactive and not in any trouble. Good luck to you.

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