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My roommate moved out before our lease was up. Can I sue her for rent, unpaid utilities and costs used to move apartments?

Seattle, WA |

My roommate and I had both signed a year lease. She decided to move in with her boyfriend leaving me to pay for a $1250 townhouse rent, and three months worth of utilities. Meanwhile, our landlord threatened to evict me if I could not pay for her half of the lease. I paid it for one month before my landlord allowed me to break the lease early and move to a different apartment. Can I sue my roommate for her half of the lease that I had to pay, utilities, or any moving costs (such as a down payment on my new apartment)? Also, our damage deposit was not refunded and I had to clean the entire apartment alone. Is any of this reclaimable? I have a court date in small claims for $625, can I add the previously listed items to that? Thank you so much for your responses, my court date is in 5 days.

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Attorney answers 2


Without knowing more detail, it is difficult to say whether or not you could recover for all the things you list. However, small claims court tends to be much less formal than District and Superior Court. You are better safe than sorry to ask for everything in court. Be sure to have documentation for each item of damage you are requesting, with specific arguments outlined and ready to support each item of damages. You should be able to add items to your prior claim so long as it does not exceed the claim threshold. You should review the court rules and be sure to provide notice to your ex-roommate where required under the court rules.


Check with your court to see if it is too late to amend your complaint. Get as much documentation as possible and witnesses, if possible. You can claim the losses, but whether or not the judge will award them to you is another question. Good luck.