If myroommate passed away, can I break my lease without messing up my credit?

UPDATED: Dec 21, 2011

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If myroommate passed away, can I break my lease without messing up my credit?

The property management said I have to get a another roommate or find someone to take over the lease but I’m responsible for the rent until then. I can’t even afford rent this month. I don’t know if it’s a factor but I’m the secondary person on the lease. Could this be my out? I don’t want to mess up my rental history.

Asked on December 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No, unfortunately, your roommate's death does not absolve you of your responsibilties under the lease, any more than you would have been absolved had your roommate moved out and refused to pay, or lost his/her job and been unable to pay, etc. You are still obligated under the lease, and if you cannot pay the rent, you can be evicted and also sued for the unpaid amount. The rental agent is right; you need to either find a new roommate, sublet, or assign the lease.

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