Q: Do I owe roommate rent back for April if she moved out on her own April second without giving me notice?
Roommate moved out voluntarily without giving me notice and is now threatening to take me to small claims court for Her portion of rent since she no longer lives here. We have both signed the the release of residents form to remove her from our lease after she decided to move out. This form states ‘you here by waive the right to any refunds (including deposit) and any benefits.’ Would this form help me in small claims court?
A: The short answer to your question is "possibly". In my experience small claims court judges each have their own mind about what should happen, even more than your average district court judge. If either party is unhappy with their small claims judgment, they can spend more money to start over in district court. The filing fee in district court is 2-3 times what is paid in small claims.
Small claims judges may simply go with what they think is "fair", ignoring contracts and law. Other times I have seen them "split the baby" like Solomon in the Old Testament. If that happened, you might be required to pay back half of the rent for April.
You really can't be sure what will happen in small claims. If you want to limit your risks, you may wish to offer a compromise. If you give the old roommate enough money, they may not want to pay the small claims filing fee when they aren't sure they will come out with a better result.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.