Who is legally responsible if a roommate on the lease backs out the day the lease begins?

UPDATED: Mar 1, 2012

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Who is legally responsible if a roommate on the lease backs out the day the lease begins?

Our roommate verbally backed out of our apartment the night the lease started. She was out of town and had not yet signed the lease, but her name was on the lease, she filled out the apartment application, provided personal information (i.e pay stubs and bank statements), had paid for the 2x security required, first months rent and broker fee for the apartment and had plans to return the next week to sign the lease. She is requesting all her money back for the first months rent and 2x security. Since we weren’t able to find a replacement roommate until mid month legally what should be done?

Asked on March 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the roommate that you have written about verbally gave her okay to rent the unit you have but did not sign the written lease with the landlord, but backed out at the last momemnt without having signed the lease, she should be repsonsible for the time period until you found a suitable replacement roommate for her.

The reason is that she made oral representations that she would take the unit and you relied upon such representations to your detriment. She should be happy to pay only a couple of weeks rent instead of a longer period of time.

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