It will depend on the type of housing contract you’ve signed and why the housemate owes this money. We can step in and help you out if you find yourself in this situation with confidential support, especially if it is due to a household argument, since a contract is legally binding, and we don’t want you to be out of pocket.
Have a look at the options available to you depending on your situation:
I have a joint contract
This means you’ve all agreed to rent the property as a group and have signed the same contract. You have joint liability to pay for the rent and any damage. The landlord could still ask for the money from the housemate in question or their guarantor, but they could also ask you or your guarantor to cover what they owe.
You’re also jointly liable for the utility bills in your house. If you pay these bills directly to the company and just one tenant’s name is on the bill, the company will chase them if there’s any outstanding debt. You can contact the utility company and give them a copy of the tenancy agreement and ask that all your names are added to the bill so everyone is held accountable. Not all companies offer this service though.
I have an individual contract
If your agreement just has your name on it and covers your individual rent, then the landlord can’t ask you to cover any rent owed by another housemate. You’ll also only be responsible for your utility bills.
But you could be charged for any damages or cleaning in shared areas. If you can show that the damage has been done by someone else, then you can chat to your landlord.