Do I have any rights signing up the lease with my roommates again if I didn’t sign the lease before but paid the landlord directly?

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Do I have any rights signing up the lease with my roommates again if I didn’t sign the lease before but paid the landlord directly?

I haven’t been in my apartment’s lease for 3 years, but I’ve been paying my part of the rent directly to the landlord. One of my roommates wants me out by the end of the lease because she wants to bring in a friend, and because she’s been in the apartment a year earlier than me, and she’s been in the lease all this time. The other roommate is undecided, but seems to favor the first roommate. Do I have any legal chance to be able to continue staying in the apartment? I’m willing to sign in the next lease. I’m in Illinois.

Asked on June 15, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is the decision of the landlord with whom he signs the lease, not your roommate.  Is the lease in her name only?  It was not a good idea for you to not have been on the lease in the first place but not terrible either.  Hopefully you have been paying by check or getting a receipt for cash to prove that you are a tenant there and that the landlord considers you so.  Any utilities or phone bill in your name? This also helps. Makes your tenancy a valid one.  If you have a good relationship with the landlord tell him that you wish to be actually named on the upcoming lease upon renewal.  Then sit back and see what happens.  If your roommates make a stink you may need to see a landlord tenant attorney for help.  Good luck.     

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm not an Illinois lawyer, but I doubt you have any rights here.  Especially when it comes to real estate, the law much prefers what's in writing to what isn't.  It works both ways;  if you find someplace else to move, you probably don't have to wait until the end of the lease, and maybe not even give a month's notice, because the rent is the responsibility of whoever is on the lease.  But there may be other facts that you haven't mentioned that have something to do with this, so I'd ask an attorney's advice before trying to do anything, either way.  One place to find counsel is our website, http://attorneypages.com

Sometimes what is the law and what isn't, isn't the most important question.  Is it worth it go go to court, to force someone who doesn't want you around to share an apartment with you?


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