What are my options if I am the guarantor and the other roommate is not paying the rent?

3 Replies

I have a situation where I am the guarantor of the lease but my roommate is not paying the rent this month and wants to leave early what are my options as far as going after them?

@Alexander Mattson

Is the lease in your roommate's name and you guaranteed it?  Or is the lease in your name and you rented out a room?  If the former, there's likely not a lot you can do, as the landlord will look to you for payment and if you elect not to pay then it will negatively impact your credit.  If the latter, and you have paperwork, you might be able to take the individual to small claims court, though if your lease prohibiting you from renting out rooms then it might get thrown out due to the intentional violation.

Any time a person guarantees or co-signs (whether a lease, an auto loan, student loan, etc.), the individual needs to be ready to make the payments (remaining and any already past due).  There's a reason why the guarantee was required... the other individual was an unacceptable credit risk and couldn't qualify on their own.  As the guarantor, you've essentially lent out your credit quality for the other individual.

I agree with  @Michele Fischer ... focus on finding a replacement roommate ASAP to help stop the extra drain on your cash flow and then focus on what steps you can take, if any, against your former roommate.

Disclaimer: I'm not an attorney and nothing above should be construed as legal advice.  :)

Originally posted by @Alexander Mattson :

I have a situation where I am the guarantor of the lease but my roommate is not paying the rent this month and wants to leave early what are my options as far as going after them?

 You'll have to pay the rent to keep yourself off any eviction reports and to protect your own credit and references.

As far as the roomie, you have a few options:

1. Sue them in small claims court for money owed to you for all rent owed to the end of the lease;

2. File a claim with a collection agency, which you can do even if you don't go to court and get a judgment.  Google "landlord collection agency," and you'll see a few options.  One of them will simply charge you a flat fee to send one collection letter and then report the debt to all three bureaus, and the collection will show as a debt to a landlord.  If you are the main leaseholder and this roommate pays rent to you, you are his/her landlord.

3. Sue them, and if they don't pay, then send it to collections.

Depending on what state you live in, you may be required to try to find another tenant asap, using reasonable means (called the duty to mitigate damages).  In that case, you can only charge them rent until you find a new tenant.  But you can charge them rent until you start receiving rent again, and any other associated fees and advertising costs.

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