Does the landlord has the right to refuse to renew my lease because my soon to be ex wife is not here to sign the renewal?

Several months ago my wife left me, I have no idea where she is or how to contact her. My problem is that the lease on my apartment is up for renewal and the landlord will not renew it because she isn’t here to sign the lease. Do I have any recourse or options?

Asked on October 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, I think that the landlord can refuse to renew under any reason so long as it is non-discriminatory and against the law.  I think that the landlord is protecting them selves against what could become being in the middle of a divorce dispute about "marital residence" and quite frankly, they may be quite smart to do so.  Your wife can not sign on the lease.  So if you sign alone it give the appearance that the property has become a separate residence, although I think it could be disputed later on.  But that indicia of being a separate residence may impact on the marital property involved on the inside of the apartment.  I think you should seek help from a divorce attorney in your area and that you should ask the landlord to allow you to go month to month until you get an "exclusive occupancy" order from a judge.  Time to move on and figure out the whole picture.  Good luck.


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