What is my recourse if my roommate walked away from our lease?

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What is my recourse if my roommate walked away from our lease?

My roommate walked away from our lease and refuses to pay. I can’t afford the entire rent so I will have to leave too.

Asked on December 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you cannot stay, as you seem to understand, if you can't pay the rent. Worse, the  landlord could sue (and/or your roommate) for the remaining balance of the lease--that is, if you breach the lease with four months left on it, you and/or the roommate could be sued for four months rent.

Your options:

1) You may be able to sublease--i.e. find a new roommate, who will sublet from you, providing the funds to cover the rent. If your lease does not bar subleases, you can do this.

2) You can sue your former roommate for any monetary losses or damages or additional costs (e.g. moving) her breach of the lease causes you to incur.

3) If you can find someone willing to pay for the whole apartment, you may be able to assign you lease to him or her (so long as your own lease does not bar this)--he or shewould take over from you.


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