If my roommate changed the locks and notified me to move my stuff out, did she break the lease?

My roommate and I have not been getting along. I let a friend into my apartment to do laundry while I was not there. My roommate became very upset and changed door locks while I was away on a trip. She told me to move my stuff out. Am I obligated to pay anymore rent after I move out?

Asked on March 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Nevada

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your roomate has NO right to make you move out:

1) If you and your roomate are both on the lease, then you have a right to reside in that apartment. Only the landlord could evict you, and only for proper grounds (violating the lease, not paying rent, etc.) and only through a court proceeding. You still have to pay rent to the landlord, since the landlord has not violated the lease; therefore, not only can your roommate not through you out, but every day you let her keep you away, you are paying rent for an apartment you're not using.

2) If your roomate is your landlord (i.e. you're subletting from her), then she still only evict you for proper reasons, such as breach of the lease or nonpayment--and even for those reasons, she has to go through the courts and do it the right way. Simply changing the locks on a tenant is illegal, and you could sue her to get back into the apartment and for damages.


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