Can I sue a co-tennant for breaking a lease even if the landlord released him from financial responsibility?

UPDATED: Aug 14, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Aug 14, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I sue a co-tennant for breaking a lease even if the landlord released him from financial responsibility?

I was co-tennant with a boyfriend on a lease. Then 4 months into it he left and I had no other choice but to stay and pick up the fianancial responsibility. We signed an addendum to the lease with the landlord that states the co-tennant is no long financially responsible for the new lease. Can I take him to small claims court for his responsibility for the original lease? The addendum also states that he is keeping 50% of the deposit based on the co-tennant breaking the lease. I live in California and have already served him papers. Do I have a case?

Asked on August 14, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As against the landlord the lease probably states that you and the co tenant are jointly and severally liable to pay.  A co tenant can sue the other co tenant upon breach if the breach caused actual damages to you.  Paying their rent is actual damages.  But here is the problem you face: the addendum that YOU signed releasing him from liability.  The portion as to the deposit seems improper since you did not breach you paid the rent to the landlord as per the lease (the full rent correct?).   I would pay for a conultation with ana ttorney.  Good luck. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption