My roommate wants to break a lease
When you sign a lease with a roommate, you should always be prepared that there is a chance that one of you may try to break a lease or vacate before the term ends. There could be a number of reasons for that, such as a job relocation, moving back with parents, or something else. Responsibility of a roommate If you and your roommate are both on the leasing agreement, it means that both of you are equally responsible. If your roommate decides to vacate an apartment before the lease expires, it is your roommate’s responsibility to find a replacement tenant, as soon as possible. If a replacement tenant cannot be found and the time comes to pay for your next month’s rent, then the roommate is still responsible to pay for their share, even though they will or have vacated already. Roommate is careless When roommates decide to move in together, they do it because they have mutual trust and understanding of each other. These are the main reason of trust before sharing common space. After a while, roommates could have a falling out, but it doesn’t mean that they must try to fail or bail on a leasing agreement. Not all roommates are honest, and unfortunately some decide to bail out of the apartment, and leave the the other roommate financially responsible for the entire lease. Time to take action You come to realize that your roommate won’t pay anything and simply does not care about any consequences of a lease break. The first thing one should do is immediately let the landlord know that a roommate has completely vacated and refuses to pay for their share. Most landlords will refer to your original agreement stating that both roommates are equally responsible. Some landlords will send a certified notice with signature required to this roommate and wait for a response. Other landlords will tell you to try and make every attempt to find a tenant to take over that empty room. It’s just that in order to file suit in a small claims court, you must show that you have made reasonable and continuing efforts to bring in a new tenant, but have been unable to do so. This will definitely minimize your responsibility and put all the responsibility on the tenant that left you in this mess. Filing in small claims court If all attempts have been exhausted in getting your roommate to pay their share, then it’s time to contact your attorney (if you have one) or first get a free advice at LawQA and see which lawyer can offer the best and most affordable solution. Surely you would have to provide all the proof of all your attempts that were made by you to find a replacement tenant, proof of your written communication with your landlord about this issue and proof of certified letter(s) that were sent to this roommate.