My question involves a roommate in the State of: California
The last two years I have had really unfortunate luck with roommates.
My first roommate was a friend who was already living in the city I was moving to, long story short, we got an apartment together and agreed that she would arrange utilities (electricity and cable/internet) and pay them, I would pay the entire rent after receiving her half. Her half of the rent would be given to me minus my half of the utilities. Our lease was September 2008 - August 2009
This roommate was never around, and lived with other friends, and literally spent 3 nights in the apartment when I was there all the time, except vacation periods. She did not pay rent for October, Nov, Dec, and finally did in January from a check where she combined Oct, Nov, and Dec. It was written on Thanksgiving and she made me wait until January to cash it. Then, she regularly neglected to pay electricity, and we were given two shutoff notices for cable/internet, and I had to prompt her to pay the bills.
She left in May and asked to get out of paying rent for June, July and August, depsite the fact that the lease went until August 31. She wanted to sublease, but I was really uncomfortable so said if she paid June while she moved out, I'd do July and August alone.
She did not pay me for January - May rent, and showed in June to move out with a June rent check from her parents. Since then, she has paid down the $2465 (from January - May) owed in rent with a couple checks (one was $700, I believe the other was similar.) And she still owes $865.
Keep in mind, we signed the year long original lease in September 2008. I tried working out a payment plan with her to go from October this year through May 2011 - $50 every two weeks, due that Friday, postmarks don't count. I instilled $20 late fees for each payment late. She made one payment in cash, received on a Sunday. I added a late fee for the next payment and I actually received the $70 on time. This was late October and she has not made a payment since. She just missed one on December 10th, and between the payments and late fees adding up each time, her next installment should be $400, but I have not heard from her.
What can I do in this situation? We are adults and I do not want to approach her parents but I am tempted. I feel as though this has gone on way too long.
Wishfully thinking, is there any legal reprimand I have to ask her for the rent she would have had to pay that July and August of 2009 when she bailed??
Also, my next roommate for 2009-2010 wasn't any better. She moved in in July of 2009, I let her go rent free for that month because the first two weeks she lived with her mom and claims her mom requested rent. Then August, September and October 2009 she paid rent and utilities equally. In November, she decided she could no longer afford to live with me and bailed after only paying 1 week of rent (and I allowed her to stay a second week in November because she complained of how much she couldn't stand to live with her mom even though she had to go back because she couldn't afford to live away.)
My only huge downfall here is she agreed I could sign the lease for her and get it in because it was late and she was working and couldn't get to the office to sign. She verbally and text message agreed to live with me and to the lease signing.
Do I have any recourse for getting any rent money from her? She also still owes me $300 from some groceries, utilities, and the bed and bicycle I helped her buy when she moved in.
Thank you for your help. If you need clarification, please ask. Thank you again!