If my grandaughter and her boyfriend had agreed to move in together and she agreed to pay partial rent, what is her obligation to keep doing so if they broke up?

UPDATED: Jan 29, 2015

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If my grandaughter and her boyfriend had agreed to move in together and she agreed to pay partial rent, what is her obligation to keep doing so if they broke up?

He was going to pay $850 a month for rent and she would pay $100 a month for rent and the utilities. Before they moved in together my granddaughter caught him cheating on her with a married women. She broke off the relationship. He started threating her and saying that she still had to pay her share. She was afraid so she has been paying him for the last 5 months. Does she still have to pay him and can he be arrested for threating her?

Asked on January 29, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If she had a written agreement (e.g. a lease or sublease) with either the landlord or the boyfriend, she is bound to the terms of that agreement and must pay, even if he cheated and the relationship is over. If it was just an oral agreement to pay, then she could stop paying on month's notice, which means that she would have had to pay all amounts for the time she lived there, plus for the next month after she told him she moved out. (If she's still living there, even if they broke up, however, she'd still have to pay.)

If he's threatening to sue her, he is not committing a crime--he may be wrong about his chances of winning, depending on the circumstances, but people may threaten lawsuits if they believe, even incorrectly, that they are owed money. If he's threatening violence, however, that is a crime.

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