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Is a oral/verbal agreement legally binding in New York?

Trying to help out a family member who needed a place to stay, I signed on for an apartment and let her have it. From the moment she moved in, I have had nothing to do with the apartment. It was agreed upon that she was fully responsible for all bills associated with this apt for the full two years of the lease. In the end, she would have to give it up. Now, I started looking for my own place since the lease was soon to be up. I get a print out of the payments and find that she has had eviction notices, 72hr vacate the premises notices, stipulations, has gone to court to fight evictions 5 times with in the year and a half she's been there and owed back rent numerous time crippling my credit. I called the management to terminate the lease prior to the end of it because who knows what other irreversible damage she could have further caused and they informed me that if I break the lease, there is still a responsibility to paying that rent until the unit is rented, that could be from when I submit the termination of lease letter to the duration of the lease. I'm in panic mode!! How can I sue her for the verbal agreement we had??

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Most oral agreements are enforceable, but I'm not sure your agreement was legally a contract, since your "friend" didn't give up anything in return for your gift of the apartment. In legal terms, there appears to be no "consideration," which means that you made a voluntary gift of the rental. You are responsible for the lease you signed, but probably have no case against your friend for breach of contract. I do not agree that the statute of frauds (requiring certain contracts to be in writing) applies to this case, but I agreewith those who sayyou would have a hard time proving a contract. In addition, even if you win, how would you get her to pay? Sounds like a complete waste of time suing this creep.

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I forgot about the last part of your question. You would be responsible to pay the rent for the vacant months, but the landlord has a "duty to mitigate damages" which means he must rent the apartment if at all possible, he can't just let it sit and collect rent from you. That, of course, could just lead to more litigation if he doesn't rent it right away, so it really doesn't help you much.
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Oral or verbal agreements are just as effective and legal as written agreements. However, the law requires that contracts dealing with real estate be in written form to avoid such a situation. If you made the oral contract in the presence of your landlord, you might be able to sue her successfully. Talk to your attorney about this for professional legal advice.

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Unless you have witnesses, and can prove that a verbal agreement exists, you are pretty much out of luck. Keep in mind you can sue her for almost anything you want to. The issue is whether or not they will find in your favor without any sort of direct written proof.

It's probably worth noting as well that, unless your lease agreement has a provision for it, subletting is generally not allowed either. So regardless of any written/verbal agreement one might have, your name is on the lease, therefore you are legally responsible - no matter what.

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They are too hard to prove.

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