This section uses the word roommate to mean someone who made a rental agreement with the landlord at the same time you did. If you made a rental agreement, and later a roommate moves in, see the subtenants section, below.
Renting with a roommate.
If you are thinking about moving in with a roommate, choose a roommate carefully.
If you and another person rent a unit together, you could each be responsible for the whole rent. You could ask the landlord to put in writing that each of you is only responsible for half the rent, but the landlord does not have to agree to that. If you rent with a roommate, and the roommate doesn’t pay their share of the rent, or moves out, then you are responsible for the whole rent.
Also, you are responsible to the landlord for the cost to repair damage to the apartment, even if it was caused by your roommate. If you pay the landlord for damage caused by your roommate, you have the right to try to get the roommate to pay you back. If they don’t, you could file a lawsuit against them.
When you move in, it is a good idea to get it in writing that both roommates agree to be financially responsible for the rent and costs of the unit. The agreement should say how long the agreement is for.
Roommates and moving out.
What if you want to move out, but your roommate does not? If you leave, but your roommate stays, you could be responsible to pay the rent if your roommate doesn’t pay it. That is because you are “jointly and severally liable” for the unit.
- See if your landlord will make a new agreement with just your roommate.
- See if your landlord will agree to assign your obligation to pay rent to a replacement roommate.
What if your roommate moves out, but you do not? If you stay, you are responsible for the whole rent. If your roommate agreed to financial responsibility for a time, and that time has not passed, you have the right to try to get the roommate to pay. If they don’t you could take them to court. But if there is a long time left on the agreement, you should find a replacement roommate to take over their share.
Evicting a roommate.
Because your roommate has just as much right as you to live there, you can’t evict your roommate. Your landlord could terminate the rental agreement with both of you. Your landlord could decide to offer just one of you a rental agreement.