Can atenant be forcedto stay on their lease after it expires ifa roommate chooses to stay in the unit?

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Can atenant be forcedto stay on their lease after it expires ifa roommate chooses to stay in the unit?

My roommate and I have a 1 year lease that ends at the end of next month. She wishes to stay in the apartment and I do not want to stay beyond our rental agreement. (However, she would have trouble paying the rent by herself and is having a hard time finding a roommate). When I informed the property manager that I am moving, he told me that I am still liable for the lease unless my roommate also moves or finds a new roommate. This is not listed in our rental agreement. The agreement states that we signed a 1 year lease with the option of going month-to-month when the year is up.

Asked on June 25, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, the property manager or landlord cannot hold you liable after the term of your lease, if you move out by or before the move out date. As you correctly point out, the lease is over then; your obligations end with the lease, unless and only to the extent that you personally hold over. If you don't, yoiu are not liable. The property manager is free to sue your roommate for holdover rent, or to come to a new month to month or other agreement with her (with or without any roommates), but as long as you're out by the move out date, you have no more rent liabilitis. Where you may end up liable is for damages (e.g. under the security deposit); the landlord won't and can't settle that until your roommate is out, so if she does damage after you've left but she's still there, you may still be liable.


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