What to do if I signed a 10 month apartment rental lease along with a roommate but I am now hearing whispers of her bailing on me?

While she is still here, can I write up a contract and have her sign it that states that she is solely responsible if she indeed does bail? How can I best prepare for this. I don’t need any black marks on my record.

Asked on August 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you cannot absolve yourself of responsibility under the lease, which is itself a contract; therefore, if your roommate "bails" and you do not pay the full amount of rent, the landlord could evict you, sue you, report the default on your credit record, etc. You could ask your roommate to sign an agreement stating that she would be responsible for all your costs and damages if she breaches her obligations under the lease, but it's difficult, if not impossible to see why she'd agree to sign that. As it stands, if you are both on the lease and she moves out, you could sue her for her half or share of the rent.

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