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Christopher B, Esq
Christopher B, Esq, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 2983
Experience:  Litigation Attorney
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I recently moved into an apartment in San Francisco that I

Customer Question

I recently moved into an apartment in San Francisco that I will share with one roommate. He signed the 12-month lease, but I have not yet signed it as we only arrived a couple days ago. For a variety of reasons we realized the apartment is not a good fit for us. We are both listed on the lease as the tenant (standard California Association of Realtors lease). Is the lease agreement currently binding upon him, or is it unenforcible due to the fact that I haven't signed and it is incomplete? Thanks in advance.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question.

Has your roommate signed the lease and have you signed anything with your roommate such as a subtenant agreement? Is this rent controlled?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This is not rent controlled and I have not signed any sub agreement. I'm interested in whether he is still bound by the lease even though I didn't sign. Thanks
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.
My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship.
In general yes, he is bound by the lease. A valid contract requires an offer and an acceptance as well as consideration. The lease was the valid offer and the acceptance was the signature on the lease and the consideration was moving into the apartment or any payment of rent/security agreement. If this lease happens to contain any sort of language that only makes the lease valid if both parties sign off on the lease then it could be possible that he would not be bound to the lease (it is doubtful that there is this type of language in the lease). I find it odd that the landlord allowed only one party sign the lease and gave your roommate access to the apartment.
If your roommate wants to terminate the lease then with breaching any contract if you break a lease you're responsible for all of the landlord's financial losses. That's lost rent, re-renting expenses, prorated broker's commissions, etc. In an up market these expenses may be minimal, especially if you or your roommate can help your landlord find a suitable new tenant. The security deposit is not a limit on damages, it's just the money the landlord has available before they have to sue you. If there is a new tenant in place then the landlord has no damages and your roommate is not liable for any further rent according to the lease.
In practice, it's whatever goes and whatever people do and agree to. Landlords and tenants alike often don't bother with the law. As a tenant you have an advantage because it's almost impossible to kick tenants out for nonpayment, and once you're gone you can disappear and it may not be worth the landlord's time to go after your roommate for the money owed. You can usually work something out. If you're renting from a big apartment complex they probably have a collections process, and some kind of landlord-to-landlord registry of bad tenants, so they can screw up your roommate's credit.
Please let me know if you have any further questions or require any additional guidance. Please do not forget to positively rate my answer (There should be smiley faces or a 1-5 ranking on my answer. I would appreciate a good or excellent rating) as this is the only way that I am compensated for my work.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.
I see you you reviewed my answer, did you have any further questions? If not, please positively rate my answer if satisfied.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.
Is there anything else I can do for you?
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.
Do you need help with the rating system? We answer these questions with the expectation that our work will be compensated by the site. Without your positive rating that won't happen, so if you could take the extra step and help me out, I would appreciate it. There should be smiley faces or numbers from 1-5 next to my answer, an excellent or good rating would be fantastic.