If I want to leave before my lease is up, do I need to pay for the whole rest of the lease or just my half since I have a roommate?

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If I want to leave before my lease is up, do I need to pay for the whole rest of the lease or just my half since I have a roommate?

I moved into an apartment with my best friend and we both signed a year’s lease. Things are not working out between us. I end up paying for everything and he makes more money than me. He said he can afford the place without me but if I were to move out, he would sue me. If I can pay the landlord my half of the rent for the rest of the rent, can I get out of the lease and keep it in just my roommate’s name? He wants to stay but I can’t live with him. I have the option to live somewhere else but it may not be available after the lease is up. What are my options?

Asked on September 25, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As I am sure that you know, you are not in the best of circumstances here.  In fact, you are on the short end of the stick as they say.  The lease is, I am sure, one for the entire apartment and makes you "jointly and severally liable" for the rent to be paid under it. That means that each of you can be held responsible for the whole.  The landlord does not have to rewrite the lease and take your name off of it.  Yes, you can move out and continue to pay your landlord separately butfrankly if your friend trashes the place while you are not living there then you can also be held responsible to the landlord under the lease.  Your remedy there would be to sue your friend. Can you sublet under the lease?  If you can try and go that route.  And even if you can not try and approach your landlord to see if that could be an option with their approval.  Get any yes in writing.  I might take the lease to an attorney to look at for you. Good luck. 


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