Can 1 person break a joint lease with the permission of the landlord but not the other people on the lease?

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Can 1 person break a joint lease with the permission of the landlord but not the other people on the lease?

My ex-girlfriend and I signed a 1 year lease in 08/10. We had a friend move in who was also added to the lease. I would like to move out and the landlord has agreed to take me off the lease but my roommates think that I should still be responsible for my share of rent. So can I move out and break my part of the lease with the landlord’s permission?

Asked on March 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, if there are other people on the lease--like your ex-girlfriend or that other person--you can't be let off the lease without their agreement, too. As a general rule, the consent of all parties to a contract--and that's what a lease is, a contract--must agree to a modification, including removing a party. Remember, if you are let out, that reduces the number of people responsible for the rent (or damage to the apartment), which increases the potential costs and liability for those still on the lease; you can't increase their cost or liability without their consent. If they won't agree to let you off the lease, an option is to sublet or assign your share--i.e. you find another person to take responsbility or step into your shoes.


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