I live with 4 other girls in a house in Kentucky. I have one of the utility bills in my name. Three of my roommates always pay me back. One of them refuses to pay. I have sent her four notices throughout this month alone asking her to reimburse me. She will not. I do not have a written agreement of her saying she will pay 1/5 of utilities cost. Can I still take her to small claims court to get my money back? Even with the fees, I would still gain money throughout the experience.
Has she ever paid her share? If so that would be circumstantial evidence that she agreed to 1/5th the costs.– Ron BeyerJan 29, 2022 at 22:42
I do not have a written agreement of her saying she will pay 1/5 of utilities cost. Can I still take her to small claims court to get my money back?
Yes. This type of agreements does not need to be in writing.
Proving the other roommates' timely payments is strong evidence that also she is under a similar agreement.
You did not elaborate on the form of her refusals. If these are stated in writing, they might evidence elements that further weaken her legal position. For instance, these might reflect her inconsistencies and/or bad faith.
Even if you were unable (which seems very unlikely) to prove that there is an agreement to the effect of splitting costs, you might still prevail on grounds of equity.
Not unless she has agreed that she will pay you 1/5 of the utility bill either explicitly or because you made that clear that that was a condition of living there before she moved in.
In order to be bound by an agreement to contribute to the utilities, your roommate must have consented to do so. While most share houses have the expectation that this will happen, expectation is not enough.
Of course, you are free to change the wi-fi password and not tell her the new one and get an electrician in to disconnect her room.
1"Of course, you are free to [..] and get an electrician in to disconnect her room" I'd be careful saying that. If the OP is acting as a subletter in CA they are considered a landlord, so barring the first paragraph turning off the electricity to their room is constructive eviction and can result in a $100/day penalty plus costs to rent a room while the power is off. Jan 29, 2022 at 22:41
It's also certainly not proper for a tenant to modify the building without the owner's permission (even via licensed electrician). It may not be practical (rooms aren't always neatly served by dedicated circuits). Finally, it may not even help- it won't eliminate their share of use by central heating, water heater, dryer, kitchen appliances, and service connection fees.– nobodyJan 30, 2022 at 19:20