3 years ago aI guaranteed a (then )boyfriend's first six month lease for an apt in north virginia. I was told verbally that after the first 6 months the terms of the lease would change and I would no longer be liable for any debt. Is this correct?
Fast forward to January 2010. I get a call from a collections agency demanding I pay immediately to settle my former byfriend's outstanding debt. ( He has left/been evicted from the apt. What are my responsbilities?
1 Answer from Attorneys
The general rule in Virginia is that the language of the contract, in your case, the lease, controls. This known as the parol evidence rule. If the lease says that you are responsible for the lease, and does not mention a modification of the terms of the lease in six months, you will not be able to mention the oral agreement. The oral agreement is parol evidence. There are exceptions to this rule: if the agreement is ambiguous, parol evidence is admissible to clear up the ambiguity. Or if you were induced to sign the lease by fraud, parol evidence is also admissible. Lastly, if the lease as written does not reflect your understanding of the lease terms that you had BEFORE the lease was drafted, parol evidence will be admissible to reform, or correct, the written lease. Without knowing more facts, hard to give you a clearer answer. Feel free to call me or email me to discuss this matter. Initial consultations are free.