Can I be held liable for a defaulted lease that I never signed?

I co-signed an apartment lease for 1 year; this was 4 years ago. I never lived in the apartment and moved out of the area 9 months later. A new 1 year lease was signed by the tenant at renewal and has my name on it, even though I didn’t sign. The tenant moved out 6 months later and now I am getting a bill for past rent and damages in the amount of $10k. Am I liable even through I didn’t sign the new lease? Thanks,

Asked on June 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You are not liable for the new lease as you did not sign the lease. You indicate very clearly in writing and by certified mail exactly what you indicated here, that you signed a lease as a co-signer and that lease was terminated at the end of the lease term and that a new lease was signed at renewal by the tenant but not by you and you do not owe for debts owed. File a consumer complaint with the state attorney general, as well, against this landlord and provide the copy of the certified letter sent to him or her. See if this will help drop this matter.

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