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How to Handle Deadbeat Roommate

Discussion in 'Roomate & Joint Leases' started by LL2019, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. LL2019

    LL2019 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    In September, My 89 year old Mother, myself and a "friend" moved into an individual rental house. All three of us signed the lease and it was I thought, understood that all three of us would share equally in the rent since there was no provision in the lease stating differently. My Mother wanted to insure that there would be no problem paying the monthly rent so she paid for the year in full up front. Me and the other roommate were to pay my Mother back and split all the utilities 3 ways.

    The roommate was to help with my Mother's care and I was going to help him with paperwork so that he could work for himself as a boat mechanic. I work 8-6 and come home and take care of my Mother which has turned out to be a lot more then i originally thought. My roommate said I wasn't doing a good job with his paperwork and has refused to pay my Mother back for the monthly rent or any of the utilities. He is now threatening to sue me for Loss of Income stating that since he can't bill or invoice for work performed, he can't work!

    I have reduced his rent from the original amount and yet he still has not paid since November. He is also threatening to have his 20 year old son move from out of state and move in with us until the end of the lease. The Owner does't really care since he is paid in full! I am wondering if I have any recourse to either evict him or somehow get him to pay my Mother back. It's a considerable amount of money and I just can't understand how someone with any conscious can take advantage of an elderly lady like that.

    He lives in the in-law apt connected to the house and we share a kitchen. My Mother is afraid of him now because whenever he sees her he brings up the fact that he is going to sue me and that upsets her. She now spends a lot of time locked in her room so that she doesn't have to see him which is a shame since he wouldn't be able to live in this house if it wasn't for her and she can't come out in the main living areas to enjoy them because she doesn't want to be harassed by him.

    Any suggestions
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Just one. Hire a lawyer.

    Your deadbeat roommate gets a free ride until you accept that you have to evict him through the courts and I doubt that you can do that successfully without a lawyer.
     
    Michael Wechsler likes this.
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    This is a stretch, but you can talk with your local law enforcement about the situation. Some states have laws about financial abuse of elders. Maybe there is a way to shos him out by investigating that angle.

    If the landlord is not willing to pursue an eviction, ask the landlord for written permission to act on his behalf to remove the deadbeat. Since you are not the landlord you may not be able to evict without this.

    What you can do is initiate a small claims case for the unpaid rent. Ask for the full amount due for the year, not just the unpaid portion. If the matter should ever reach a judge it could be reduced to the appropriate amount at that time, but you don't want to ask for less.

    As above, I agree this will be much easier with the assistance of an attorney.
     
    Michael Wechsler likes this.
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    This is a mess. My thinking is similar to @mightymoose - small claims court may have jurisdiction (over the payment of money) since one may be able to argue that this involves a contractual relationship in addition to a separate landlord-tenant relationship. It's difficult to predict an outcome since small claims court results are not always consistent or predictable, at least from my experience, given the difference of rules, experiences in different jurisdictions and the variety of people hearing cases (judges and arbitrators.) It may be worth filing a claim, usually less than $25, to see if it moves your deadbeat tenant to pay up.
     

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