If a boyfriend and girlfriend both sign a lease for an apartment and they break up, can the boyfriend move out without paying?

UPDATED: Apr 5, 2012

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If a boyfriend and girlfriend both sign a lease for an apartment and they break up, can the boyfriend move out without paying?

She cannot afford the apartment on her salary. She doesn’t want to break the lease and incur many extra expenses involved in breaking the lease. Isn’t he just as responsible for breaking the lease? The lease is up in 4 months. She can only barely pay her half and he was paying the other half. What can she do?

Asked on April 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract and binds all parties  to it. A tenant on a lease is therefore  obligated under the lease to pay for the rental; the tenant may also be obligated by any agreements (including oral ones) between him and his co-tenant over who pays what or how much. In a case like this, the girlfriend would seem to be alble to sue the boyfriend for the share of the rent he should be paying; she should speak with an attorney about her rights and recourse.

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