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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33796
Experience:  15 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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My roommate wants to move out and leave the lease. I

Customer Question

My roommate wants to move out and leave the lease. I mentioned to her a few months ago maybe would just work it out so she lets her out of it. She took that as I was totally ok with it. now she has a move in date at another place and has had a lawyer send me a nasty letter saying that if the complex comes after his client they will come after me for damages his client may incur for her skipping on the lease.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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Is the other roommate on the lease with you as a co-tenant?

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Was there anything in writing where you agreed to release the roommate from any further liability for the lease?

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Was your agreement with the roommate that they will pay half the rent?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They are on the lease paying half. I think in a text message back in june when were talking about this I may have said something to the effect, but I don't have it anymore.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, this is going to boil down to what you said in the text.. If you told roommate that you agreed to let her move out and you would take over the entire lease, and she relied on that, then you are probably stuck because she could argue "detrimental reliance" if you tried to pursue her for any rent. This is a legal doctrine that says if A takes a position (i.e. you can move out and I will take over the lease) and B relies on it (i.e. she does so and secured a new dwelling), then A is prohibited from changing their position if it will harm B.

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So it all depends on what you said exactly in the text and whether you said you would discuss ending her tenancy and assuming it solely or whether you actually said you agreed to do so..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On August 7 I said we could sign off. Via text. On September 2 I told her I didn't have the money to switch to another apartment so I wasn't Ina rush to do it. I just couldn't afford it. Also via text.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, this is going to be a close one because it would initially appear as though you agreed to allow her to move out. But the fact of the matter is that the lease is between you and her and the landlord, not just you and her. So if you never actually signed something in writing agreeing to release her, then I think that she is still on the hook for half the rent if she can't find someone to sublease the place. You would have the right to file suit against her in small claims court for her half of the rent each month as it comes due and is unpaid.

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That is likely why she has had the attorney send you the letter because she knows she is still legally on the hook and she wants to have the attorney try and bluff you in to not suing her.

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thanks

Barrister

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