What to do if my roommate left the apartment in shambles and wants her deposit back?

UPDATED: Dec 21, 2011

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What to do if my roommate left the apartment in shambles and wants her deposit back?

My roommate left and did not give written notice to the landlord. She left the apartment filthy and had painted her room. I’ve tried to read the lease several times but I’m unsure about a painting provision (legalese, right?). She’s placed ads in an effort to find a roommate but no one has been interested. I have 2 scenarios to ask about: 1. If someone moves in, she wants them to pay her the security deposit, but I figure she shouldn’t get it considering the expense I’m going through to clean and repair her damage. 2. If I decide to break my lease, will she be solely responsible for rent?

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


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Good questions. The security deposit is an issue between your former roommate and the landlord, not you. I would immediately contact the landlord about the situation you have with the former roommate's room and have the landlord hire someone to clean up the mess and take the costs to do so from the former roommate's security deposit.

As to responsibilty for the lease if you break it, you need to carefully read the document in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa absent conflicting state law.

Read who is obligated on the lease. If you both are, then the landlord has the option to go after you or your former roommate for money owed. I suggest that you try and get a replacement roommate leaving your former roommate on the hook for the balance of the lease.


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