Am I responsible for a lease to a property that I no longer have access to?

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Am I responsible for a lease to a property that I no longer have access to?

Our 19 year old daughter left her husband to come home. She and husband had lease until 01/11. He changed locks, and gave landlord a key. When she went to get more of her stuff she couldn’t get in. She called landlord who said on the advice of his attorney he won’t get involved, refusing to give her a copy. Now, said landlord is threatening a lawsuit if I don’t pay the remainder of the lease that I co-signed on a property that we haven’t been able to get into. Her husband gave move out date and refused to pay anymore rent. He’s gone. It was due 09/05/10. Am I still responsible??

Asked on September 10, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Whenever you co-sign anything - a lease, a car loan,etc., - you have to be very careful about what you are really getting yourself in to.  Yes, unfortunately, you will be responsible to the landlord under the lease so you are one of the parties that the landlord can come after to pay on the remainder of the lease.  And in fact, so is your daughter and your son-in-law, unless the landlord let him out of the lease.  But you may have certain rights over and against your son-in-law so that even if the landlord has let him out of the responsibility to pay, you and your daughter can sue him directly in the action as a 3rd party action.   As for the issue with the keys, the landlord can not keep you out without an order of eviction.  Call the police.  Ask that they break the lock.  Or go to court and start your own proceeding.  Do not break the lock yourself.  Good luck. 


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