What to do if my ex-roommate does not want to signa roommate release despite now having an acceptablesubstitute roommate?

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What to do if my ex-roommate does not want to signa roommate release despite now having an acceptablesubstitute roommate?

I found a roommate and signed a lease with her. The condominium is a rental community. We sign a lease for a year. After 2 months she started acting up and I decided to leave. I found a new person that agreed to take over my contract. She met him and she approved him. She asked me for the keys and demanded money to clean the carpet. I gave her the keys and the money. The new roommate moved in and she let him to move in. But she does not want to sign the roommate release. I did the right thing and we agreed to do so. What can I do?

Asked on November 4, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Why do you need a roommate release? If the lease with the landlord requires that, then you bound to get her approval, though depending on the terms, she may not be able to "unreasonably withhold" the release. (Generally, since all contracts and leases have an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unless the lease specifically says that approval may be withheld for any reason whatsoever, it can't be withhold unreasonably, since being unreasonable violates good faith and fair dealing.)

However, if there is no requirement for her release, then if you are substituting the new person completely for yourself, that is an "assignment" of the lease; if the lease permits assignments without the permission of the other roommates (e.g. freely assignable), you should simply be able to do this. Or you might be able to sublet to this person, in which case you're still obligated under the main lease by the person is then paying you; again, the issue is what does the lease require in terms  of approval for sublets?

You have to look at the contract--the lease--to see what it's terms are in this regard, in terms of whaht you can do, whose permission you need, and whether there are conditions or limitations on that person's right to withhold permission. You should take the lease and any associated paperwork to an attorney who can evaluate them for you.


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