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Are text messages legally binding?

1 Answers. Asked on Jun 27th, 2013 on Breach of Contract - New York
More details to this question:
I sublet a room to a girl and she agreed to stay there until a certain date and pay the specified rent. She did not come to see it and did not ask for details. However, after she moved in, she thought the place was unliveable while we also had another new subletter come in at the same time and is living there. We tried to work it out with her to make it more comfortable, but she just wanted to leave and had many excuses. She found a new subletter, but this new girl wanted to pay less than the original rent. Is the difference of the rent my responsibility or the first subletter's responsibility? Does the text messages count as a written agreement and/or contract? Is it legally binding?
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Licenced in NY
Answered on Jun 28th, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Depending on how complete and detailed they are, the text messages may well constitute a sufficient writing to satisfy the Statute of Frauds (the statute that requires some contracts to be in writing to be enforceable; of course, this doesn't mean that the text messages satisfy all other requirements of a valid contract).  However, most agreements do not have to be in writing to be enforceable.  Assuming that your agreement was to sublet the apartment for a term of less than a year, it probably was not required to be in writing.  Thus, if all other elements of a contract were met (consideration, agreement on all material terms, etc.), and that the apartment was in good condition as you say, your damages would be the difference in rent between what the original prospective subtenant agreed to pay and what the second subtenant paid.

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Breach of Contract
A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two parties. When you enter into a contract, you do it in good faith and expecting that the other party will meet its legal obligations. But if that fails to occur, you or your business may have grounds for a breach of contract lawsuit against the other party. If successful, you may be awarded damages, or compensation for your losses and expenses in connection with the breached contract. The court can also rescind the contract or order the party that breached the contract to fulfill its obligations. If you're party to a breached contract--whether you've been accused of a breach or are trying to compel the other side to perform its duties--you need to hire an attorney who has experience with personal, professional and/or commercial contractual disputes.
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