Can my roommate raise the rent?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my roommate raise the rent?

I have been living in a 3 bedroom apartment for just over 2 years. The rent is divided into thirds. i signed a lease and put down a security deposit when I moved in. About a year ago the landlord decided they did not want to have multiple tenants on the lease and asked that one of us signed a new agreement so they could just deal with one person. I would have had no problem being that person but at some point decided my roommate would take on the responsibility. From that point on I just agreed to continue to pay my third to my roommate. I didn’t sign anything, it was just a verbal agreement. Fast forward to today and my roommate the lease holder has decided he will raise the rent and is asking me to pay more than a third of the total rent. in addition is telling me he can ask me to leave anytime he wants if his girlfriend decides to move in. The whole thing has taken me by surprise, we have had a generally pleasant relationship until this point. So where do I stand legally?

Asked on February 12, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you do not have a written lease with your roommate for a defined period of time (e.g. a one-year lease), you are a month to month tenant. (All oral, or unwritten, rental agreements are month to month.) That means that your roommate, from whom you rent and who is therefore your landlord, can raise your rent on a month's notice--or require you to leave on a month's notice.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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