Would we be liable to pay rent for the rest of the leasing period if our roommate is engaging in unlawful activities?

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Would we be liable to pay rent for the rest of the leasing period if our roommate is engaging in unlawful activities?

Currently we have 4 people living in a house together. About 7 months ago, our roommate forged both mine and my boyfriend’s signature to obtain the house. Today, we found out he has shipments of illegal substances being shipped to our house. Would we be able to leave and not be liable for rent and bills? Also, we live in a college town and there is a “3 person” rule. This makes it where no one in the town can have 3 non-related persons living in the same household.

Asked on February 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Mississippi

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you did not sign the lease where you are living, where your signatures where forged, did you believe that you were leasing the unit from the problem roommate? If you did, as opposed to thinking you were in contract with the owner of the property, I suggest that you have a face to face meeting with the landlord to explain that you were in an oral contract with the problem roommate and that you never signed the lease with the property owner, rather your signatures were forged by the problem roommate.

At this time, it would be a good idea to advise the property owner of the improper conduct of the problem roommate. To answer your question as to whether or not you have a contract with the property owner for the duration of the contract depends upon who you though you were renting from, the problem roommate or the property owner. If the property owner, you are still obligated to pay rent for the lease's duration regardless of the roommate's bad behavior. I suggest that you consult with a landlord tenant attorney further about your situation.


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