I need to know my rights if my ex-girlfriend moved out and we are both on the lease?

UPDATED: Aug 25, 2011

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I need to know my rights if my ex-girlfriend moved out and we are both on the lease?

My now ex-girlfriend and I started a 1 year lease a little over a month ago but now she broke up with me. I told her she needs to move out; she agreed and did. I paid the rent and she paid the bills. She said she will continue helping with the bills. Can I have her taken off the lease? What are my rights? What are hers? Also, aside question; we both have a dog and she says she wants to take it eventually, can I stop her from doing that?

Asked on August 25, 2011 Virginia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If both you and your former girlfriend signed a lease for one year, you are both obligated to the landlord for its full term unless the landlord is willing to sign and date a document releasing your former girlfriend from her obligations under the lease's full term. If not, she is obligated under the document until the lease ends.

If you asked her to move out of the leased unit, you impliedly agreed to pay for the entire unit for the balance of the lease on a monthly basis.

As to the dog issue, if both of you own it, you will need to come to an understanding as to who ends up having it. I have seen written agreements between people regarding custody and visitation rights for jointly owned pets. Perhaps such an agreement for your jointly owned pet is an option down the road.

Good luck.

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