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KimberlyLaw
KimberlyLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3728
Experience:  10 years of legal experience in various fields of law.
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I would like to know what can be do if 4 individuals sign a ...

Customer Question

I would like to know what can be do if 4 individuals sign a lease agreement to lease a house for 4months at a divided rate between the 4 people: and suddenly two may three of the individuals decide they want to leave without paying their portion of the rent/lease what can be done if one individual is left to carry the lease, how can this be handle legally, because i can not carry the lease alone and this is a stressful situation, and the rent/lease payment is due and the landlord act as though i''m responsible to make sure evryone pays their portion, yet all 4 people sign the lease.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 6 years ago.

Hello, I am happy to answer your question.

This is a pretty typical situation with roomates. In my opinion, it is better to have just one person take full responsibility for the lease so that the others can merely "sublet" from them and can leave at anytime, but the person on the lease always has the right to stay.

Since that is not your case, you will have to go with the flow. When you sign your name on the lease, you are taking responsibility for the entire amount of the lease, even if there are two other people on it. Thus, if the rent isn't paid, the landlord can go after EACH of you individually for the entire amount due, UNTIL he gets paid in full.

So, you have taken a huge risk that if the others decide to bail, you are responsible for their shares. This is why many landlords don't take shares, because they know that if someone leaves, the rent doesn't get paid.

Now you need to figure out what steps to take. First, make sure you have enough money to keep paying the rent, even if this person stops paying and moves out. Next, ask them if they are willing to be released from the lease so that you can get someone else in there ASAP. If the landlord won't change the lease, ask your roomate to sign something saying that he agrees to allow someone to take his space in the apartment because he can not pay. You must get tenants in there immediately if you can not afford this alone.

The others will remain liable on the lease, but this way you can all move forward and still pay your rent without paying an extra share each. Then just take this as experience to learn from and next time make sure to only have the lease in one person's name.

I hope this was helpful and good luck.

Kimberly

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Courtney's Post: That's my point indeed, I have taken responsibility to pay the lease but am I also responsible getting replacements, this is the reason we leased this home together so that individuals can take responsibility for their portion and not burden one another. I want to know what can down legally, becuase the Landlord is going to come at me, I don't have the money neither the time to commit to this unexspect issue...do I need a lawyer, a law suit, small claims, what can be done...thanx
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Courtney's Post: That's my point indeed, I have taken responsibility to pay the lease but am I also responsible getting replacements, this is the reason we leased this home together so that individuals can take responsibility for their portion and not burden one another. I want to know what can down legally, becuase the Landlord is going to come at me, I don't have the money neither the time to commit to this unexspect issue...do I need a lawyer, a law suit, small claims, what can be done...thanx
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Courtney's Post: That's my point indeed, I have taken responsibility to pay the lease but am I also responsible getting replacements, this is the reason we leased this home together so that individuals can take responsibility for their portion and not burden one another. I want to know what can down legally, becuase the Landlord is going to come at me, I don't have the money neither the time to commit to this unexspect issue...do I need a lawyer, a law suit, small claims, what can be done...thanx
Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 6 years ago.

Sure.

Like I mentioned, your options are not great because in the end you are still liable for the entire lease.

You can go to small claims court against your roommates, but the problem is that it will take time, and it doesn't look like you have much time, since this lease is only a few months and you need to get someone in immediately. Small claims court you can do without a lawyer, and won't cost you much, so you might as well give it a shot and see how fast you can get some action. Maybe it is enough just to scare them into paying you.

In the meantime, yes, your landlord will come after you. Especially since you are the only one left hanging around. However, evictions take time as well, and since this is so short term, he may not even try to evict you just yet.

The number one thing you can do right now is to communicate with the landlord. Tell him what's going on and that you want to pay your portion. Ask him to go after the others for their portion (which he probably won't want to do). Then get someone in there to sublet right away. You need to offset this burden on yourself.

Best,

Kimberly

Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 6 years ago.

Hello.

Please click "Accept" so that I can get paid for my work.

Thanks and good luck.

Kimberly

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