My roommate's brother took over my lease. He agreed to buy me out of my 1/2 of the deposit ($162.50), which he will receive upon moving out. When I moved out, he claimed never to have agreed to that and refused to pay me. However, earlier in the day, we had this conversation via text messages:
Me: I need 162.50 for the deposit please. Bring a check.
Him: I don't use checks, but I carry cash :/
Me: That's fine. It's 162. I'm leaving at 9.
Him: What time will you be back after that? I have to pick up Amber from the airport, and then I could come over
The fact that he didn't question my first text is a clear indication that he knew what I was talking about and had previously agreed to pay, but I'm worried that the texts are vague. By the way, I left the apartment in perfect condition.
I would not want to rely on the text messages. You could certainly take him to court, or threaten to do so. But that will definitely have an impact on your roommate and perhaps your relationship with her/him.
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In this rough economic times $1162 in your pocket is better than in the person who took over your lease. Nonetheless, unless filing fees in TX are cheaper than in NJ, besides the aggravation, and loss of time you will experience going to court, you will pay a chunk of that $162 to file the claim in small claims court.
You might write the landlord and explain that since paid the deposit, and have not been reimbursed, when he vacates, you are entitled o the $162.
As my father used to say when I would complain: "Life is not always fair." Move on.
The foregoing is not intended to be legal advice upon which you may rely as I have not been retained for this purpose.
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