Can my landlord withhold my deposit and hold me accountable for rent ifI have already moved out butone of my roommates stayed behind?

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Can my landlord withhold my deposit and hold me accountable for rent ifI have already moved out butone of my roommates stayed behind?

I had a lease for an apartment in CA with 2 others. Our lease ended 07/31, and 2 of us moved out, but the other wanted to continue living there. I had already given written notice of intent to move out and removed my parents as co-signers. I left my new address w/ the landlord so that he could return my deposit, but he refuses because the unit is not completely vacated (the person who is staying left all her furniture, but is abroad for the summer). Also he just contacted me stating that the August rent is overdue. Isn’t it his responsibility to draw a new lease with my roommate?

Asked on August 10, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract between parties: you and your landlord.  If you gave proper notice about your intention to not renew the lease (it should be in there so re-read it) and the lease ended then your obligations have ended as well.  However, you have all agreed to leave the apartment "broom clean" (read that portion as well).  You are generally all "jointly liable" for the provisions under the lease unless the lease specifically states otherwise.  Security deposits are not supposed to be used for rent.  Did you other roommate make a new agreement to love there with the landlord?  If not then she is considered a "holdover" and you have not fully vacated.  There is a lot of pointing fingers and suing between you that may be going on.  I would seek some legal help in your area and bring your lease. Good luck.


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