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QLD Tenant's Unpaid Rent - Housemate Taking Us to Small Claims Court?

Discussion in 'Debt and Bankruptcy Law Forum' started by Judy9090, 17 March 2016.

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  1. Judy9090

    Judy9090 Member

    17 March 2016
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    The lease just ended on a house I was living in. I was on the lease with two other people; L & D.

    L had a friend who was living 'downstairs' in the garage and was paying rent and part of the electricity and water bills. This friend, however, was not on the lease. The living agreement for this friend was only a verbal agreement, and was made before D and I moved in.

    As requested by the Real Estate Agents, we had to pay our rent fortnightly from one account. L had nominated that everyone pay rent into her account so that she can keep track of it and have control. So every fortnight, we all paid our agreed amount onto L's account and she paid the real estate.

    Unbeknownst to D and me, L stopped checking her account sometime around November 2015. Which meant she stopped keeping track of who was paying rent, etc. Her friend that was living downstairs stopped paying rent and bills around this time, too. L didn't realise that her friend wasn't paying rent until mid-January when the friend decided to move out.

    Our rent is all up-to-date with the real estate, and the tenant ledger has been finalised, so legally, the lease agreement has been fulfilled.

    Naturally, L is wanting her friend to pay her back, but she is unable to get in touch with her to get her. Because L can't get in touch with her friend, L is now seeking that D and I compensate her for the money her friend owes her, based on the fact that D and I were on the lease. D and I have refused to pay her as it's not money we owe. Now she is threatening to take us to Small Claims Court despite the fact that we paid our agreed rent amount.

    My question is this, does L have any legal basis to take D and I to Small Claims court?
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

    16 April 2014
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    Hi Judy9090,

    I would say no, she doesn't. The legal obligations you collectively have toward the landlord have been fulfilled. And the legal obligations you have between each other as co-tenants to pay a certain percentage of the rent have also been fulfilled. Therefore, there is no basis to seek more money from you, unless you had agreed to pay it for some reason. Tell her she's dreaming.
  3. Hope this helps

    Hope this helps Well-Known Member

    26 March 2016
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    Only the person whose name is on the lease is allow to live in the house and equally obliged to pay the rent as agreed. Allowing the person/s to stay and lodge at the lease premises is a breach of agreement with the lessor.

    Though all rental fees have been met, she herself has had to pay more out of her pocket as the person in the garage didn't pay and can't be located. As the person living in the garage does not have his name on the lease, he is not liable to have to pay anything unless a written agreement was made and sign by every person who loved in the house to agree to pay a certain.

    Verbal agreements are here to say and as none of you placed his name on the lease (probably because a garage is not a room nor a legally allowable place to classify as accommodation). Plus I repeat, his name was not on the lease and as you all allowed therefore agreed to have him stay and he put towards paying something, your friend should not bear the burden of paying for a person you all agreed to allow to lodge in the garage even though you knew this was a breach of rental agreement and a garage is not an appropriate place to live, lodge or classed as a room.

    Therefore, it is only fair if you all pay equal amounts as you would do if he wasn't there. I'm sure you all at one time have had a friend stay overnight or weekend, take showers, use electricity and all facilities available without asking or paying extra for their usage.

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