If I’m in lease with a roommate who doesn’t pay their rent, how can I protect myself?

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If I’m in lease with a roommate who doesn’t pay their rent, how can I protect myself?

always pay my half of the rent on time and my checks have never bounced. The past few months she has bounced checks and has not paid rent. My landlord and I have been working together trying to communicate with her. Feeling unsuccessful, my landlord is threatening court and eviction. My landlord said he would talk to his lawyer about me not being targeted in all of this because I have always been a good tenant. But he could not be sure. What do I do?

Asked on January 2, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There really isn't anything you can do, other than--if you can afford it--covering your roommate's share of the rent, then suing her to recover the money. The lease makes you and your roommate jointly liable for the rent; if the landlord does not receive all the rent on time, the landlord may evict both of you, can report the eviction against both of your credit or rental histories, and could sue either or both of you for the money. The only way to prevent that from happening is to make sure the landlord gets all of his/her rent on time. If you have to cover your roommates' share, however, you could then sue her to recover that amount.


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