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William B. Esq.
William B. Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3125
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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A friend (well call her katherine) and myself paid $6600 ($3300

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A friend (we'll call her katherine) and myself paid $6600 ($3300 each) to sublet a 2 bedroom apartment together for 12 weeks over the summer. Upon her getting angry with me, she texted me "it's pretty clear that you don't enjoy living with me so if you would like to move out my parents will cover the rest of the rent" I replied to her message with a text reading "Please cut me a check for $1650 (half of the summer). I will be moving out at the end of the month" She would effectively be reimbursing me for the 6 weeks that I would no longer be living in the apartment. She agreed to these parameters, saying "ok I just have to get a check from my parents cause I don't have checks but I can probably get it on Friday if that's ok" I replied telling her that was fine. After that friday passed without any check I texted her while she was at her parents' home, reminding her that I still had not received any money and she said "hey my mom said she'll give me the check to give you when you leave. she's being a stickler sorry" still implying that I would receive the $1650 as agreed upon. Now, I followed through with my end of the agreement and I moved out of the apartment on June 28th. Katherine was not present while I was moving my things. While moving out I received another message from her reading "hey so our moms worked something out and the check is being sent instead of hand delivered. Please just leave the keys on the table. I'm bringing it to the post office now" followed by a picture of the envelope she was mailing, addressed to my mom. I did as she requested and left the keys on the table. Upon arriving home I asked my mom what had been "worked out" and my mom informed me that katherine's mother had called her, telling her she was only willing to pay $1200 because she did not feel that I was entitled to the full amount of $1650, since it was ultimately my decision to leave. Because my mom was unaware of the agreement and had no knowledge about anything that had been discussed between katherine and myself, and because she did not feel it was her place to be talking to katherine's mother about something that did not involve her, my mother agreed to $1200 without telling me, in order to end the conversation. I have since received a $1200 check from Katherine's mother but I would like to take Katherine to court for the remaining $450. Katherine has since found another person to sublet the room that I left, claiming this new girl only paid $1200. Because I moved out only under the promise of $1650, I don't believe it is fair for me to receive any less. Had katherine's mother approached me with an offer of $1200, I would not have moved out. She may not feel comfortable giving me $1650 now but because that the was agreement I don't think she should be able to go back on her end of it since I followed through with mine. Do I have a case here or I am supposed to accept the $1200 because that is what my mother supposedly agreed to, even though it does not involve her.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  William B. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

William B. Esq. :

Dear Customer, thank you for choosing Just Answer. I would like to assist you with your legal question today.

William B. Esq. :

Please keep in mind that I cannot give you a complete opinion regarding this matter as cases such as this may involve the analysis of facts outside what can be viewed in a short post such as this one. I will however give you an overview of the law as it applies to your situation.


As you have posted it, Katherine is liable for the full amount. The two of you entered into a written contract in which she agreed to pay you a set amount and you agreed to perform a certain act. The only modification you agreed to was that the check would be sent directly from her mother to your mother (and you did so in writing). The reduction in cash was a material reduction that was done without your consent or acknowledgement. Katherine is liable to you for the difference. (Unfortunately, as a practical matter $450.00 is a relatively small amount to take to Court, even for small claims - but you may still try what some civil litigation attorneys call a "pre-litigation letter" where small claims are presented in a demand letter to the other side with a completed copy of a complaint that is ready to be filed in court if the other side does not pay, you may or may not file at your discretion). Massachusetts Small Claims Court information can be found here: http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/districtcourt/smallclaims.html

William B. Esq. :

I hope that my answer was of assistance to you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you for your business!

Customer:

Thank you for help! I am wondering if it matters that my mother was involved. Because it was mother's money, did she have the authority to agree to $1200 instead, or would I still have the authority since the agreement was between katherine and myself?

William B. Esq. :

You and your roommate entered into an agreement, so absent any other facts, your mother would not have the right to interfere or change that contract. However, if your mother was a co-signer on the lease or otherwise involved, that would change things, and the fact that it is your mother's money may be an issue in that case as the actual "parties in interest" may be your mother and your friend's mother. However, the fact that your friend unilaterally changed the agreement (I doubt she presented the real agreement to your mother to be altered), makes it unlikely that she can enforce the lower amount.

William B. Esq. :

(I will mention in passing - you may want to be cautious as you and/or your mother may still be responsible for your portion of the lease liability unless you have also resolved that with the landlord)

Customer:

Thank you that answers my question perfectly!

William B. Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3125
Experience: Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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