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I am a Sublet - My roommate not paying rent

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I am a Sublet - My roommate not paying rent

Postby aiwil734 » Sat May 18, 2013 1:27 am

I've been subletting a room in NYC for over 6 months now. I haven't signed any paper work for being here, but I make my monthly payments in checks so I have proof of all payments. The roommate I've been paying rent to decided not to pay rent to the management company for 5 months. I found a bill in the apartment for over $9,000. The roommate claims they tried to make a partial payment but got into an argument with the management company and said they would only accept payments in full, not partial. They are on the lease so it confuses me they would do this to themselves, however, their old roommate is somehow still on the lease, who's name is also on this most recent bill for $9,000. Their parents supposedly are very well off and are probably the guarantors or cosigners for this apartment. I don't know for sure I'm just trying to put two and two together. My roommate that is on the lease who I've been paying rent to, has never come to me on the first of any month for rent, didn't seem to care if I was late or how late I was, and had court in mid April for the money they owe. That was when they told me we had 45 days to pay the rest, even though I had been making my monthly payments mostly on time (they were very oddly lenient). All my portion is paid, but they told my friend who sublets my room with me that the management company was trying to kick us out for June 1. My question is, do I owe them for May rent (it's now halfway through May and I still haven't paid because I'm very sketched out), do I need to be out on June 1, and if we had a 30-day eviction notice for June 1 would I owe June rent? What can I do in this situation? Please help.
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Postby TenantNet » Sat May 18, 2013 1:54 am

Is the unit rent stab? That could be important.

You are a roommate (AKA occupant or undertenant). You are not a sublet (which is when the prime tenant has gone away). Who you call your roommate is actually a prime tenant (on the lease).

Lease tenants are "jointly and severally liable," which means the LL can sue the remaining prime tenant for all the rent. They would go after whoever is still around.

While you could lose your home, you would not be liable for all the rent. If you had not paid, you would be liable to the prime tenant.

If there has been a court decision or settlement, you should find out exactly what it says. Indeed, the LL should have taken you to court as a "John Doe," -- not for the rent, but to obtain repossession of the apartment. If you never got any papers, you might be able to go to court to get some time to move. It depends on a number of things and you can get advice from the pro bono attorneys on the first floor (of the Manhattan court house) as to how to proceed.

I would hold onto May or June rent until everything is clarified. Also if you put down any deposit, I doubt it will be coming back. The LL can't come after you for rent, although the prime tenant could.

I would also demand to know - with paper backup - the status of any case. If need be you can go to court and look it up. Or call the landlord (for information only, but not for intimidation).

If you rent a room, I'[m make sure there's a lock on it. Also carry around with you proof that you live there (utility bills in your name are good).
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Postby aiwil734 » Sun May 19, 2013 7:23 pm

Thank you for your help. The apt is not rent stabilized, and I do have mail proving I'm living there. I have a place to go for the month of June do you suggest moving there as soon as possible? There has been court but I haven't been given any details, as my roommate on the lease is not telling me many details, just very vague information. The numbers they told me are much less than the numbers on the actual bill I found. Their court date was in April and they told me from that date we had 45 days to pay the rest of the rent, even though I've been paying my part the whole time. I have a feeling they are pocketing the money. Do you suggest going to speak with the management company or would that be worse because I'm not sure they are aware I'm living there?
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