Is my husband legally responsible for damage to apartment property if he already moved and lease was up before he left?

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Is my husband legally responsible for damage to apartment property if he already moved and lease was up before he left?

My husband lived in apartment with mother, sister and brother for 5 years. Original signed lease was 1 year, then month-to-month after first year. My husband and I married last year and he moved in with me 1.5 years ago. Mother, sister and brother stayed in apartment. Lease was never changed to reflect another family name. Mother and rest of family cannot pay rent and they are now getting evicted and apartment needs things fixed. Can landlord sue my husband for anything regarding the apartment?? The eviction notice reflects my husbands name. Is this legal? Other family names were not on lease.

Asked on August 19, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, if someone is on a lease, they are responsible for damages to an leased premises regardless of residency.

On a month-to-month lease, your husband *could* have gotten off the lease with one-month's notice.

However, if your husband never terminated his own lease interest, it may be the case that he has continued to be on the month-to-month lease as it renewed each month--even though 1.5 years have passed.  As noted above, leasing and residing in an apartment or home are not necessarily the same, so if he was on the lease--even an oral one--and never let the landlord know he was not renewing/terminating his lease, it may be that he is still responsible for it.

Thereofre, it may be the case that your husband is still responsible under the lease, though he should have grounds to at least seek contribution of their share from the mother, sister, and brother.


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