If a roommate has moved out-of-state how do you remove their name from the lease if they refuse to do so themselves?

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If a roommate has moved out-of-state how do you remove their name from the lease if they refuse to do so themselves?

My boyfriend, lets call him J, is attempting to move into an apartment with his friend, lets say C. His friend signed a year lease with his ex-girlfriend, we’ll say R, back in January when they both had jobs. They both lost their jobs shortly after, and C was left to pay for every month of rent. In April she left and did not take her name off the lease. She is now refusing to take her name off, though she is living out of state and does to intend to come back. If J does not move in with C both R and C will be evicted. Is there any way C can remove her from the lease?

Asked on June 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contractual obligation and no matter what R or C attempt to do, unfortunately, R cannot be taken off the lease at all until C moves out or they are both evicted. There is no incentive for the landlord to agree to have R taken off of the lease even if R asked because to surrender the lease could mean that the landlord would lose one person of the two from whom he could obtain lease payments or a judgment should eviction arise. C's best bet is to have J fill out an application and talk with the landlord and see if the landlord can communicate with R and see if R would agree to surrender her part and then terminate this lease with R and C. Deal with the return of any security (split between R and C) so as to avoid any lawsuit by R and then have a new lease drafted for J and C.


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