I'll try to keep this as short as I can. I signed a lease on 5/1/10 for a 2 bedroom which I qualified for on my credit alone. I got a roommate a month later who also, per the rules of the complex, had to be added to the lease.
Since I had met her via Craigslist, I drew up a roommate agreement for her to sign. It outlined the rent distribution, and that we would each pay half of the utilities. I also added in that if either of us needed to leave for any reason, we could as long as we found someone to take over the lease who the other roommate agreed to. This was key to me as I didn't want to get stuck with someone.
Fast forward a month and it's obvious it's not working. She's weeks late paying utilities, she brings over her boyfriend and his 4 and 7 year old who camp out in my living room all weekend and make it so I can't enjoy the space. They put up tents in the living room. She leaves her dog overnight and he barks ALL night keeping me awake. She routinely has between 3 and 6 people over all the time and no fewer than 5 people regularly shower in my apartment.
That's just a few of the problems I've had with her. I gave her notice that I was going to find someone to take over my lease. I spent a few weeks interviewing people and found a few that I thought would be good matches. Upon asking when she would be around to meet them, she informed me that she would not agree to me leaving because she didn't want the complex to run her credit because she decided to buy a house and didn't want her credit score to go down because of the credit inquiry.
So I am completely stuck in this lease because she wouldn't agree to let me leave. It finally got to the point where I moved out to stay with a friend. I'm still paying over $900 a month for a room that I do not use.
I pay the rent on time. My question is this. Since I'm not there, I don't think I should have to pay for utilities. I shut off the vent in my bedroom so we wouldn't be heating/cooling that space. She says I still owe her half of the utilities. We did agree to that initially in our contract but she's also broken the contract several times so in my mind, it's already invalidated.
If the utilities are in her name, and I am no longer living there (the management office is aware that I have left) can I be legally liable for paying half of the utilities?
She threatens to sue me constantly and I'm wondering if she would have a case against me for these utilities. I've done everything reasonable - shutting my vent, having the utilities switched over to her name - to keep costs down. The fact of the matter is that I have tried every single thing I could to leave this place and she has blocked every attempt except for an illegal sublease, which I was uncomfortable doing. I feel like she's left me no choice. I'm paying rent and she gets a $1700 condo for the $700 she's paying. I think it's absurd that she wants half utilities on top of that.