What can I do if my housemate is moving out without paying rent and the landlord will suer all tenants listed on the lease?

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What can I do if my housemate is moving out without paying rent and the landlord will suer all tenants listed on the lease?

My housemate (girl living in single room) is moving out and she will not pay her share of the rent. She tries to break her part of contract using a medical issue. The landlord told us that if the apartment as a whole can’t pay the full amount of the rent, that they will evict us and sue us for the rest of the rent for the remaining lease term.

Asked on April 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You landlord does not care about how you and your roommate(s) apportioned or shared the rent--the landlord only cares about, and is entitled to receive, the full  rent for the apartment, even if one of you leaves and/or won't pay. Therefore, if your roommate ceases to pay, either the rest of you can make up the shortfall--and sue the roommate, under the lease, for her share--or you can not pay the full rent, be evicted, and be sued for breaching the lease. Those are effectively your only options. Whether or not your roommate has medical issues does not allow her to breach the lease; such issues, even if real, would not absolve her of her responsibilities to either the landlord or to her roommates.


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