General Question

jessenicholas's avatar

Can my roommate really use a collection agency to get a portion of a bill?

Asked by jessenicholas (2points) March 16th, 2008

Roommate A took the responsibility of paying for gas. Roommates B & C didn’t receive request for reimbursement until 6 months into the lease leaving the total amount over $400/person. B & C discovered roommate A hadn’t even paid the gas company and yet was asking for reimbursement. A’s name is on the bill. There is no written record of an agreement to split the bill.

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8 Answers

Randy's avatar

B and C could probably get away without paying, but thats pretty shady. Then again its shady for roommate A to go about it the way he/she did.

Perchik's avatar

I think if there was no written agreement, then B & C are probably safe legally.

kevbo's avatar

Highly doubtful. Roommate A is putting the cart before the horse in that taking B & C to small claims court would make more sense and probably would serve as a precursor to collections (after a judgement found in favor of A and after A documented that B & C weren’t paying up). I’d worry more about small claims court, but with no documented anything, it’s also highly doubtful that A would prevail even then.

The problem for B & C is that regardless of whether A is right or wrong, B & C will likely lose their gas service and may either be forced to move or deal with A’s maneuverings to get reimbursed.

DeezerQueue's avatar

Oral agreements can also be upheld, but in small claims court, where he should go. There would also be a smaller amount of precedence if they had paid for their share of other things, as well.

His obligation to the gas company is separate from the others’ obligation to him, he could argue that he couldn’t pay the gas bill without their contributions and a judge could find that to be a valid argument.

iSteve's avatar

Judge Judy will work it out!!!

Patrick_Bateman's avatar

Does roommate U feel guilty about this at all?

What was roommate U required to pay since roommate U didn’t have to pay for the heat in the winter when oil prices are at an all time high.

cwilbur's avatar

In the absence of a written agreement, and with A not having paid anything to the gas company, I don’t think A can collect anything from B or C.

I was in a living situation once where we found out that the roommate responsible for the cable bill hadn’t paid it in six months. We were without cable, but the cable company went after the roommate in whose name the bill was. Since we were each responsible for a different bill, we probably could have collected money from her, but we were so happy to see her leave that we didn’t bother.

jvgr's avatar

A contractor (utilities) can only claim against a contractee (customer of record) for any payments related to service.
Morally, B&C, should chip in, but certainly not for any interest/fines accruing.
If B&C are louts and A needs to take legal action, and if there had been a custom of splitting the housing costs (rent, other utilities) 3 ways, they would likely be required to pay.
If A takes legal action and given the amount chooses a law suit over small claims court he is either a lawyer or nuts.(No intention to suggest that the terms lawyer and nuts are mutually exclusive)

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