Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Massachusetts

Hi everyone, I am a college student in in Massachusetts. My "roommate" and I had a year-long apartment lease that started in January. However, he decided to join the Korean military (he is a citizen of Korea and will start his service in May) and did not show up for school this January; he is currently still in Korea.

My landlord said that I was still be responsible for the full rent (the landlord was correct), so I have been paying double rent for the past two months. After many hours of research, I found out that I can take action against my "roommate" by challenging him in court. My questions are:

1. Can I summon him to court even if he is in Korea but not yet in the army? How can I collect the money if he doesn't show up to court?

2. If I were to take this to court, how would the rest of the months (until December) work out in terms of my being able to stay in the apartment? Would I be forced to leave early or would he be responsible for half the rent until December?

In case the amount matters, the rent is around $1400/month for two people. Utilities and such cost an additional $200/month (I will most likely be unable to get this part). As you can see, $8400 is not a small claims court matter.

Finally and very importantly, many people have suggested that I find a new roommate. However, because most leases start in September, I will be unable to find anyone to replace him; everyone that I know already has a place to live.

Thank you all so much for your help!

Asked on 3/19/10, 8:26 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

The short of it is you would likely have a claim against your roommate. The problem you will face is collecting on the claim. If he doesn't come back to the USA, or have assets in the US then your hopes of collecting the money, after receiving a judgment, are small.

A better course of action may be to review your rental agreement, and Massachusetts housing law.

Read more
Answered on 3/25/10, 1:10 am

Related Questions & Answers

More Landlord & Tenants questions and answers in Massachusetts