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Common Roommate Questions and Conflicts: What Do I Do?

Though you may have talked about the basics, it is best to start at the very beginning, so take the initiative and jump in! Tell about yourself here before launching into all the other questions:

    My full name...
    Where my hometown is...
    What my high school was like...
    How many brothers and sisters I have - their names and ages...

Case #1: My Roommate is Gone!
One roommate decides to move out before the end of the leasing period, leaving their roommate stuck with five months of full rent to pay.

If one roommate moves out on the other, the remaining roommate is responsible for the full rent unless he/she and the management come up with some alternate agreement to relieve the tenant of the full rent. If the roommates signed a roommate contract that stated what portion of the rent each roommate would pay, then the remaining roommate can file a claim with the small claims court.

Case #2: Evicting a Slob

Two people are sharing an apartment - one roommate is very neat and the other roommate is just the opposite, a slob. The neat roommate decides that he/she just can’t take it anymore and wants the junk monster out.

The first step would be for you to talk to your roommate and try to come up with a solution that would benefit the both of you. Seeking the services of mediation may also help in reaching this solution. If, however, it is necessary that he/she move out, it is not advised that the lease be broken unless the manager is willing to let the tenant out without charging them for remaining rent damages. A better solution to this type of problem would be subleasing. The roommate who decides to move out can find someone to replace him/her with the manager’s consent.
Case #3: The Name on the Bill

Sally subleases her half of her apartment to a new incoming student. Upon arriving, the new student finds out that she is responsible for paying half of the utilities. This is an unexpected financial obligation, and she refuses to pay because her name is not on the bill.

The roommates have to come up with some agreement about the utility bills. The utility company must receive the full balance each month to keep utilities connected. One two-week extension can be made for tenants who are expecting financial problems, however, there are no extensions for tenants who are having roommate problems. If services are disconnected, a re-connection fee plus the entire balance will be necessary to reconnect services. If one roommate is refusing to pay their half of the phone bill, the other roommate can call the billing department and make arrangements to pay installments until the unpaid balance is paid. If only half of the bill is paid each month, the remainder of the bill will be forwarded to the next month’s bill along with the late fee for the previous unpaid balance. In this situation, if an agreement cannot be reached between the roommates, it is highly advised that they seek mediation to help sort out the details.
Case #4: Oops!!! I Didn't Sign The Lease

Nathan’s roommate gets a co-op job that he can’t afford to pass up, so he convinces a mutual friend who needs a place to stay to take over his share of the rent and bills. After two months, Nathan realizes that his new roommate is…well…not the ideal roommate because of personality conflicts and values. Nathan decides that it is time to move out. In their haste to get things settled, the new roommate never bothered to sign the lease.

The TAA lease states that anyone who is not on the lease is not allowed to stay in the residence for more than seven consecutive days. Therefore, there should not be anyone living in the apartment who is not on the lease. The roommate in this situation would not have any recourse. He could try to get his name put on the lease. However, if this fails they have no choice but to move out of the apartment. Signing a roommate contract can be just as effective as signing the original lease and can protect someone who moves in during the middle of the semester.
Court Action

If one roommate tries to seek payment for damages through small claims court, he/she must first pick up a petition and pay $62 for filing and citation fees. The person who is being filed against (the defendant) must respond within 10 days. If they fail to respond, a court date will be set four to six weeks later. After which, they have one more chance to respond or show up for their trial. If they still fail to respond or fail to show up for the set court date, the trail will proceed without them. The claimant will present his/her evidence and the judgment will be based on that evidence. There is no guarantee for payment of damages or the cost of filing the claim. If the former roommate doesn't pay the claimant ten days after the judgment has been made, the claimant can file an Abstract of Judgment. This will put a credit lien on that person’s record for up to ten years. A credit lien prevents that person from taking out loans or buying or selling anything in that county. These judgments can be filed in whatever county the person resides.

For more information, contact the offices of:

Precinct 1

Judge Michael P. McCleary
979.695.0324 (fax)
12845 FM 2154, Suite 180
College Station, TX 77845    Precinct 2, Place 1

Judge Vera Lara-Hooge
979.361.4373 (fax)
300 E. 26th St., Suite 308
Bryan, TX 77803


Precinct 2, Place 2

Judge Tommy A. Munoz
979.778.8597 (fax)
1904 N. Earl Rudder Freeway
Bryan, TX 77808    Precinct 3

Judge George Boyett
979.764.1909 (fax)
1500 George Bush Dr.
College Station, TX 77840


Precinct 4

Judge Ramiro Quintero
979.361.4502 (fax)
206 N. Washington Ave.
Bryan, TX 77803   

Brazos County Court House
300 E. 26th St., Suite 308
Bryan, TX 77803

Brazos County Justices of the Peace