Q: Roommate not on lease leaving without notice.
I stay in a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 flatmates in Maryland. K and N split a room between themselves and I stay in the smaller room. N and me are on the lease and K was supposed to be added. The request was made to the leasing company, K abruptly announced that she is leaving (without finding a replacement for herself). N doesn’t want to split the room anymore and also doesn’t want to pay for the bigger room by herself. I wanted to know what legal obligations I have and also what actions I can take if the rent is not paid on their end on time (eg small claims courts etc).
As to the roommate on the lease, you have some options. If she abandons the lease, you would have legal recourse to sue her for damages incurred (ie. her half of the rent).
As to the other one... that's a lot trickier, as she's not technically on the lease, which means you would have to build the suit based on an oral agreement, which is always tricky.
1 user found this answer helpful
A: You and N are equally liable to the landlord for the full amount of the rent, regardless of whatever other agreements you have among yourselves and K about who pays what share. In other words, the landlord can sue you, N or both for any unpaid rent, not just your perceived share of the rent. Separately, each of you can sue the other for breach of whatever agreement you have to share the rent obligation. Proving that agreement if it is not in writing may depend on how honest each of you is in admitting the arrangement terms, or you use other evidence (emails, proof of past payments each of you made which correspond with the amounts agreed upon, etc.). If you cannot get out of the lease, or do not want to, then you have to either pay the rent or find other subtenants to share the costs. N may not be comfortable sharing a room with a stranger, so you have made an unfortunate choice in renting a two bedroom apartment with a third roommate who flaked out on you. Lesson learned. Regardless, you and N are legally on the hook. You can sue K, but better wait until initial the lease term is over or until you find a replacement for K, because you will not know how much K owes until then. A court may not award future lost rent that has not yet come due.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.