Can a creditor collect from one party when more than one party is legally responsible? 23 Answers as of May 22, 2013

An eviction from an apartment which had four people on the lease, years later the creditors are only taking legal action against one of the people.

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Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
Yes.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/22/2013
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Generally yes. You should look at the lease.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/26/2012
Law Offices of David M. Blain
Law Offices of David M. Blain | David Blain
There is a concept in the law called Joint and Several Liability. What this means is that a damaged party can pursue recovery of legal compensation against any of the persons responsible and can collect the entire amount from that one person. In other words, the landlord in your situation is allowed to sue just one (probably the individual most able to pay) of the tenants who is responsible for the lease. The landlord does not need to sue all four of the tenants, or however many signed the lease. It is then the sued tenants obligation to try and seek contribution from the other remaining tenants who were not sued. Everybody should pay their fair share, it's just not the landlord's duty to make sure that happens. It's the tenants obligation. The landlord can collect the entire rent amount from one tenant (assuming the lease doesn't breakdown which tenant is responsible for a certain amount.) Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/25/2012
Lisa L. Hogreve, LC | Lisa L. Hogreve
I would have to review your lease to be certain, but the answer is: Probably. It is likely the written lease states that all the tenants agreed to be responsible for the entire amount of rent, not just their share. The landlord can then seek payment from any or all who executed the lease.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 9/25/2012
Olson Law Firm | Edward M Olson
Yes. The creditor can choose who they will sue.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/25/2012
    Slotnick & Schwartz
    Slotnick & Schwartz | Leonard T. Schwartz
    Yes. That party should then sue the others.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
    Yes, they can. It's called joint and several liability. I suggest that you contact an experienced attorney for a face-to-face consultation and give him/her all of the facts surrounding your situation. He/she would then be in a better position to analyze your case and advise you of your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    Law Office of Marissa L. Vandersluys | Marissa Vandersluys
    The creditors are entitled to collect a debt from any one person on the lease. So, if four people were named on the lease, the collector can ask for the full amount of the debt from any one of the four people. Typically when signing a lease, each person assumes full responsibility for the debt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    Yes ... generally the liability is joint and several.. the one creditor being sued can always file a third party complaint against the other debtors if they want for contribution to pay their fair share of debt.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    Yes but there may be a statute of limitations issue. You should consult an attorney to see if the claim is still valid.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/24/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
    Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. | Stuart M. Nachbar
    Yes, they can pick and choose.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/21/2012
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    It may be because they can only find the one person or the one person has assets, but they can sue any of the liable parties.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/21/2012
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq.
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq. | Neil J. Lehto
    Yes, a creditor may sue within six years and collect on a judgment within the next ten years, subject to being renewed, from one of the four people on the lease, who may, in turn, if timely, sue and collect from the others their proportionate share.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/21/2012
    Jakob-Barnes Law Firm, LLC
    Jakob-Barnes Law Firm, LLC | Jennifer Jakob-Barnes
    Most contracts say all parties to the contract are severally and jointly liable meaning they can collect from one or all parties for the whole amount.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/21/2012
    Law Offices of Stanton Lee Phillips
    Law Offices of Stanton Lee Phillips | Stanton Lee Phillips
    Yes. If a judgment is directed to all the defendants, it is deemed a joint and several obligation as to each of them. The creditor may go after one or more of them because each is responsible (to the creditor) for the whole.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/21/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    They can collect all from one, and the party paying has to seek contribution from the others.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/21/2012
    Powell Potter PLLC
    Powell Potter PLLC | Shawn Potter
    If the lease agreement makes each of the individuals jointly and severally liable for payment of the debt, the creditor can collect from any one of the debtors and the debtor is obligated to pay the creditor. The debtor who paid can sue the remaining co-debtors for contribution of their share. If years have passed, check the statute of limitations. It may be that the agreement is too old to be enforceable.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/21/2012
    STASCH LAW LLC
    STASCH LAW LLC | Sarah Stasch
    Yes, but the party against whom the action is taken can bring in the other parties, or sue them to recoup their share.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/21/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    You are all jointly and severally responsible, so they can come after all of you or one of you...up to them.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 9/21/2012
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