3rd roommate added to lease with out permission of other roommate

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3rd roommate added to lease with out permission of other roommate

I moved in with a person in January last month she added her son to the lease
without my permission, nor did I agree to allow him to be there. He is not paying
rent or contributing at all. Am I able to get out of my lease for breach of contract? Or
what are my rights, it’s a large apt complex, and we signed a one year lease.

Asked on September 4, 2016 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, she may may not add him to the lease: a lease is a contract, and any contract may only be modified (e.g. by adding someone) with the consent of all parties, which here means all tenants and the landlord. The addition of him is void and ineffective. However, she is allowed to have him live with her unless the lease specifically prohibits anyone not on the lease from living there, even if he does not contribute. And even if the lease does prohibit unauthorized occupants, only the landlord can evict for a breach like that of that lease--the other tenant may not. And since this lease violation (if there was a violation) was done by your roommate, not the landlord, you cannot move out legally without potentially being liable for your share of the rent, since the *landlord* did not do anything wrong (only material, or important/significant, breaches by the landlord justify termination of the lease).
So, to summarize: he can't be added to the lease without your consent; but he most likely legally can live there (a tenant may let other people move in unless the lease says "no"); and even if he can't legally live there, because this breach was by a fellow tenant, not the landlord, there may be nothing you can effectively do.


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