If a husband and wife signed a lease agreement but one moves out, are both still responsible for past due water/sewer bills and damages?

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If a husband and wife signed a lease agreement but one moves out, are both still responsible for past due water/sewer bills and damages?

It was a signed 1 year lease that had expired 2 months ago. I understand that it was now a month-to-month lease. The wife gave her notice last month. If the husband does not give proper notice and/or does not pay rent and there, are damages to my home in excess of the deposit, is the wife still responsible?

Asked on July 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I'm slightly confused about whether or not you are still married, but it sounds like you are.

Married couples in community property states (like washington) are jointly liable for debts and share income. Regardless of when one spouse or the other moved out or gave notice--any obligation like rent, sewer, water, or damages are community obligations payable by both spouses.

If you are moving apart and concerned about being responsible for one another's debts, you may want to talk to a lawyer about filing for legal separation so that you can cut yourself off from futher liability for community debts.

Best of luck.


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