If my roommate breaks the lease and moves out early, am I responsible for her portion of the rent?

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If my roommate breaks the lease and moves out early, am I responsible for her portion of the rent?

She is moving out 1 month early and we are all on the lease.

Asked on July 26, 2011 New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract that cannot just simply be broken. Therefore, you and the other roommates can sue her in small claims court for any amounts the you must pay on her behalf because she moved out.   However, you are still required to cover the full amount of the rent.  When you signed the lease, you all tenants became legally responsible for it. This is known as "joint and several liability". This means that if 1 tenant doesn't pay their share of the rent any of the other tenants, either individually or collectively, are liable for it. 

If you do go to court and win, you will be granted a judgment against her. Then a notation of the judgement could be placed on her credit report.  Why don't you inform her of this and see if that prompts her to come up with some money. In the meantime, continue to pay the full rent when due, otherwise you all face eviction and potential liability for any rent that your landlord loses on account of all of this.


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