If a primary tenant defaults on a lease, can the other named occupant be held responsible?

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If a primary tenant defaults on a lease, can the other named occupant be held responsible?

I had an apartment 2 years ago with a friend of mine. She was the sole owner of the apartment and I was only on the lease as a roommate. She got us evicted and the unlawful detainer went under her name but the money left owed on the apartment went on my credit score and not hers. I feel I shouldn’t have that on my credit; it should go on hers. How do I get it off mine?

Asked on March 31, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

Christopher Vaughn-Martel / VAUGHN-MARTEL LAW

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The ship has probably already sailed on fighting the underlying judgment.  If your name was on the lease, there was probably also a provision that made you jointly and severally liable.  If you are looking to resolve the judgment on your credit report, you should retain counsel who can help you reach out to the judgment creditor (your former landlord), negotiate a resolution to the judgment, and make sure that it is properly reported to the court as satisfied.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  This is one of those times that one needs to actually read the document to determine what each of your rights and liabilities are here.  How you were listed- your status and tenancy - matters.  It sounds odd what yu have written about it.  If you have any responsibility to the landlord to pay rent under that agreement then the landlord can report your deficiency to the credit bureau.  Please get help here.  Good luck.


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