If I was given permission to move-out early by the landlord,canI now be held liable if my ex defaulted in the rent payments?

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If I was given permission to move-out early by the landlord,canI now be held liable if my ex defaulted in the rent payments?

I moved out of my previous apartment due to a murder that took place next door. I provided documentation from my therapist that I could no longer live there. Management said that I would be removed from the lease so I moved out. However now that my ex ran up a $6,000 balance in rent, they’re holding me partially responsible. This is hurting my credit. Can I fight this?

Asked on March 8, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should speak with a attorney about this; you need an attorney to review all the documentation in and facts in the situation in detail. There are some real complexities to this case:

First, IF you'd been the only person on the lease, AND the landlord agreed to let you move out earlier, you could probably enforce that agreement--though if it was an oral or verbal agreement and the landlord now denies it, proving the existence and terms of the agreement can be difficult. (Always get everything in writing.)

But from what you write, it seems that your ex was also a party to the lease. If that's the case, the landlord might not be able to let you off the lease early, not without your ex's agreement. That's because all the parties to a contract--and a lease is a contract--must agree to any change or modification, such as allowing one party out of it. The landlord and you do not have the right to make your ex solely responsible for the full rent, if he or she did not agree.

So if your ex was on the lease and did not agree to the move out, that's a tremendous complicating factor, and one that cuts against you.


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