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verbal agreement (roommate)

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verbal agreement (roommate)

Postby nguttman » Tue Dec 31, 2002 8:04 pm


Is "verbal agreement" just as binding as written regardless of the length of stay or of situation?

Between Dec 2001 and April 2002, I lived with a roommate in a two bedroom apartment in lower Manhattan. My name wasn't listed on the actual rental lease from the building management, but the primary tenant and myself had a written (variable length) lease which stipulated that 1 1/2 month advance notice was required to move out. We both moved into the new apartment in December and that's when the problem started.

Having lived with a couple of difficult roommates before, I felt that it was important to understand each others needs are and I clearly explained to him of the problems with my previous roommates and of my habit of not watching TV, my frugal lifestyle, etc, etc. The very next week, he wanted to buy a 60" TV and (contemporary) sofas, and he wanted to split the cost. Then, there was about 6 weeks of standoff and finally I reluctantly agreed to make a compromise and buy something that I could use in my next apt. But that didn't go too far as it turned out the guy wanted to buy only contemporary furniture that typically cost huge sum of money (whereas his TV costs only $2k) or something that matches that "design and ambiance of the apt". We'd spent next 4-5 weeks going from IKEA to Jesen-Lewis to other SOHO boutique shops" to satiate his need (he really made my life unbearable with his nagging). In early Feb, he finally bought a 60" TV and, unable and unwilling to undertake our agreement, a few days later I gave him a 2 months notice. I moved out in May (my roommate wanted some more time to find a new roommate and had asked me to stay another month).

When I, however, received my deposit some five months later (after a lot of arm-twisting), he deducted $200 for breaking agreement (sofa), $25 for Cable TV and withheld another $290 for registering with FEMA. Back in December, my roommate didn't feel too comfortable revealing the fact that there was a roommate in his apt and had specifically asked me to restrain from getting mails and I agreed to that. I did apply for FEMA registration, however, for my own sake and felt that it was all legitimate and sensible thing to do.

I have filed a small claims against him in Nov and our scheduled hearing date is approaching. Do I have a chance of winning this cases ($515)?
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Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2002 1:01 am

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