If a roommate moves out, are they still liable for rent payments?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If a roommate moves out, are they still liable for rent payments?

My girlfriend and I are renting a home with 2 other roommates. Over the last couple months we’ve stopped getting along, almost to the point of physical altercation. There’s about 7 months left on the lease and my girlfriend and I have had enough. We’ve begun looking for another residence. We just found out that our roommates plan on finding another place before us and plan on leaving us in a house that we cannot afford by ourselves. Should we break lease and find another residence before they do? Or should we let them just break the lease and stay in the house? Will they be held responsible?

Asked on October 31, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract.  Not paying rent is a breach of that contract - whether or not you are still living there.  So, if the others are intending to move out you could stay and try to find new roommates to help you cover the rent.  In the meantime your existing roommates are responsible for their share of the monthly payment.  If they fail to pay you can take them to small claims court and sue them for any amount that you are out-of-pocket.  However, in the meantime you will have to pay the full rent.  Again, try to find new tenants.  Possibly your landlord will help you.

If you move out, and your roommates stay, then in turn can sue you for any unpaid rent.  Finally, if you all move out your landlord can sue.  In fact, your landlord can sue any tenant, or all of you, for the remaining unpaid balance.  This is know as "joint and several liability".  This is why, in the future, you need to take care who you sign on the dotted line with (this is true for any contract the you sign).


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption