Can I get out of my lease if 1 of my roommate’s has ano contact order against me?

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Can I get out of my lease if 1 of my roommate’s has ano contact order against me?

We have a joint lease with 5 of us but I cannot currently live there. I have removed all of my items from the house (it has been 2 months) and I want to know if/how I can be removed from the lease agreement?

Asked on December 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you may be removed from the lease; as a practical matter, it will probably not happen. To be voluntarily removed from the lease, *every* party to the lease must agree to allow you to be removed--that is, your four roommates and your landlord  must all agree to let you off the lease. They have no incentive to do this--your roommates become liable for your share of the rent; the landlord loses a person he or she could sue for nonpayment of rent; etc.

The alternative would be to bring a legal action, seeking a declaratory judgment that you are allowed out of the lease on the basis of legal impossibility, but it is not clear that this would be granted. Among other problems, you have the fact that the rights of 4 other people who have nothing to do with the no contact order--the other 3 roommates and the landlord--would be negatively impacted by this, and courts do not like damaging the rights of third parties. You may have better luck going to court and trying to have the no contact order removed, or perhaps clarified or amended to specifically allow you to live there.


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