What are my legal rights as a tenant?

UPDATED: Oct 7, 2011

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What are my legal rights as a tenant?

My roommate and I are on a 1 year lease. We are about 5 months into our lease and he wants to move out without paying for his half of the remaining years. What are my options? I do not want to move out, have a roommate (1 bedroom apartment) and cannot pay his half of the rent every month.

Asked on October 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that when you signed your lease you both became "jointly and severally" liable for the rent. This means that either one of you can be held responsible for all rental payments. Therefore, if your roommate leaves, you will have to pay fornthe entire month. If you can't afford to do so then you will have no choice but to get a roommate or move out. However, if you break your lease early your landlord can sue you for the remaining rental payments (at least until they are able to re-let the premises).

Note: You are not entirely without recourse. You can sue your roommate for their share of any rent that you were made to cover on their behalf (but this will not be of immediate help to you).

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.

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