How can I remove myself from a joint lease on an apartment without paying a penalty cost?

UPDATED: Apr 27, 2012

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How can I remove myself from a joint lease on an apartment without paying a penalty cost?

I moved into an apartment 8 months ago with 2 roommates. Then 5 months ago II became engaged and moved in with my fiance. I offered my roommates to move in a 2 bedroom apartment in which I would pay for movers, new deposits, etc. However, 1 of the roommates was against my offer. Later, both roommates told me to give them a couple of months to find a new roommate to take over my portion of the rent but until then I still owed. Last week I met with the roommate who supported my decision and she told me that she had found my replacement. Yet, the other roommate did not want her to move because she simply does not want to cooperate.

Asked on April 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you cannot remove yourself from the lease without the consent or agreement of all other parties to the lease--including the landlord. That is, even if your roommates agreed to let you out of the lease, you could not escape your obligations under it unless the landlord, too, agreed; and since whether the other parties consent to allow you out of your contractual obligations (since that's what a lease is--a contract) is voluntary on their part, there is no way to make them allow you out. Even a single roommate or the landlord, if he or she does not agree, can prevent you from being removed from the lease. What you can do, if the lease does not restrict or prevent subletting, is could find a subtenant yourself who will rent from you; that way, you may still be on the lease, but you'll have an offset for your rental obligations. If the lease does not require roommate or landlord consent for a sublease, you would be able to do this even if the other parties objected.

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