Q: If a person is on a apartment rental lease and is listed as just an occupant, do they have any financial responsibility
A: Absent unusual circumstances (ie. an agreement stipulating to responsibility or a guarantor or the occupant doing damage to the premises), the answer is no. The named tenant(s) are the responsible parties. Authorized occupants merely have the right to reside. As a result, they don't have control over the lease and the actual tenant can take steps to remove them, but they also don't have responsibility that comes with it.
A: I agree with Mr. Englander, but would add that while you may not have a contractual obligation to the landlord, there are scenarios where you would have financial liability for payment of rent: (1) Any agreement you have with the tenant on the lease to pay a portion of rent can be enforced by the tenant, including by way of third-party complaint in any lawsuit filed against the tenant by the landlord for unpaid rent. In a third-party complaint scenario, the tenant named in the lease is sued as a defendant by the landlord, and then joins you in the lawsuit by filing a third-party complaint against you to pay the share of rent you promised to pay under your agreement with the tenant. Alternatively, the tenant can simply sue you in their own separate lawsuit. (2) If the tenant moves out, and you remain living there and fail to pay the rent, the landlord may proceed against you for the fair market value of the rent for the premises while you resided there and used the premises. This type of action is equitable in nature, and is based on a theory of "unjust enrichment" -- essentially, you received a benefit from the landlord in the form of the leased premesis which the law of equity requires you to pay the reasonable value in return. (3) The tenant moves out, and you continue in the premises by consent of the landlord because you continue to make the rental payments and the landlord accepts those payments. In this scenario, you have become a tenant, and although you may not be bound by the terms of the written lease, you now have essentially a month-to-month tenancy, and your failure to pay the rent after your tenancy is established would create a legal basis for the landlord to sue for any unpaid rent before you vacate.
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