What are my legal rights as a tenant?

My roommate and I are on a 1 year lease. We are about 5 months into our lease and he wants to move out without paying for his half of the remaining years. What are my options? I do not want to move out, have a roommate (1 bedroom apartment) and cannot pay his half of the rent every month.

Asked on October 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that when you signed your lease you both became "jointly and severally" liable for the rent. This means that either one of you can be held responsible for all rental payments. Therefore, if your roommate leaves, you will have to pay fornthe entire month. If you can't afford to do so then you will have no choice but to get a roommate or move out. However, if you break your lease early your landlord can sue you for the remaining rental payments (at least until they are able to re-let the premises).

Note: You are not entirely without recourse. You can sue your roommate for their share of any rent that you were made to cover on their behalf (but this will not be of immediate help to you).


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