Is there anything that can be done in a broken relationship lease situation?

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Is there anything that can be done in a broken relationship lease situation?

I signed a lease in CA with a, then, boyfriend
but broke up a few months later. I have no
access to the apt, the landlord has said I won’t
be held liable for the apt yet he remains there,
saying he won t sublease, and is harassing me
for half of rent. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on June 21, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) If you are on the lease with your boyfriend, you are legally obligated for the rent with him. Even if the landlord only chooses to tryt to get it from the boyfriend, the boyfriend could in turn sue your your share of the rent, which you owe under the lease.
2) However, that means you have access to the unit: if you are on the lease with the boyfriend, it is equally your apartment as his. You could live there if you chose; you could use it for storage; and most importantly, YOU can sublease it without your boyfriend's consent or permission so long as the lease with the landlord does not prohibit subleasing. One unit renter has no right to keep the other from subletting, so you can get a roommate for your boyfriend, who will pay you rent, if you like. Or you can settle matters with your boyfriend with an agreement that he will not seek rent from you in exchange for you not subletting--if you settle, get it in writing. (Of course, since you're still on the lease, if the landlord changes his mind, he could legally seek rent from you if the boyfriend doesn't pay.)


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