If I rent an apartment with a roommate and we both signed the lease, if she does something to break the contract can I get out of the lease?

UPDATED: May 18, 2012

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If I rent an apartment with a roommate and we both signed the lease, if she does something to break the contract can I get out of the lease?

In the lease it says no other occupants are allowed except for the ones that signed the lease. A month later she moved someone else in and he has been there for almost 3 months even though I have told her I can’t live in the apartment with him and want him to leave. So I want to leave the apartment but the landlord says I am bound to the contract and can’t leave without penalties. The contract says no one else can live there so she is breaking contract and I want to leave as a result. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on May 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your landlord is right. If your roommate is in breach of the lease agreeemnt you may not have the ability to do anything about it except rat her out.  The agreement breaches the lease with the landlord.  If your landlord claims a breach then you and she are most likely jointly "and severally" liable under the lease, whcih means that you are both responsible togther and separately for the rent until the end.  If you have already spoken with the landlord then I would ask him or her to help you out and send a formal letter advising that you are in breach and he is to leave. Otherwse ask if you can sublet your room with his or her written permission. Good luck.

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