Legal Question in Consumer Law in Pennsylvania
My daughter arranged thru emails to sublet an apt from a graduating senior from college. He was leaving for Germany and needed someone to take over the lease for 3 months, and he claimed the person would have an option to renew lease at the end of the 3rd month. My daughter asked if there was something to sign, has several emails to back up her claim. The guy said he would let landlord know about the sublet.
My daughter paid the prorated rent for � month (the guy had her make out the check to some 3rd party to whom he owed money to)
Then gave her the address where to drop off the monthly rent check and left the country.
After a few weeks my daughter had to contact the landlord regarding mice and ants. The landlord responded immediately however after the second call inquired who my daughter was and how did she come to be living in the apt. Then he emailed her a credit/lease agreement for her to complete and return. There was no urgency in the request.
It took 3 days (due to time differences) for my daughter to reach the guy in Germany thru messages to get answers to the questions on the agreement. During that time she received notice from the other owner of the building ( not the manager that she had previously been dealing with) that her rent check for June had been returned due to insufficient funds and that since subletting was not permitted she would have to vacate the apt immediately or be charged with trespassing.
She also found out that the owners were suing the student who broke his lease by subletting the apt. My daughter offered to sign a new lease and present the owners with a certified check if she were able to stay in the apt. They adamantly refused and insisted that she vacate and make good on the check or they would proceed with criminal charges, both for trespassing and the fraudulent check.
MY QUESTION�can they legally require her to pay if she wasn�t technically supposed to be living there? And by suing the student they would end up with the money for the apt during the time my daughter lived there. (by the way the students father is a lawyer and has instructed the student to deny having made arrangements with my daughter to occupy his apt.)
1 Answer from Attorneys
They can press the trespass charges, anyone can do that, but the charges should not stick. Your daughter was not trespassing, she had permission from the lease holder. Just because the landlord doesn't allow sub-leasing does not make her a trespasser.
If this goes to the magistrate, I would say that your daughter has a very good defense in that she paid the lease holder. Its not her fault that his check to the landlord bounced.