Apartment Tenant Trying to Transfer Full Lease to Roommate

2 Replies

I am trying to leave my apartment and transfer full responsibility to my roommate for the lease.  My roommate, a leasing staff member and myself all signed a "Roommate Release Form".  After it was signed, the leasing staff member asked her manager if everything was good and the manager said "No, he isn't off the lease.  You shouldn't have done that." and they refused to give me a copy of the paper.  I feel if all parties have signed this document then I should be free to go.  I went back to the office today to ask to see the paper and they tore it up in front of me.  Seems very sketchy.  Do I have any kind of legal action that I can take since they destroyed a document we all signed?  Should I go back with a lawyer to try to get them to sign another copy of the form?

"I went back to the office today to ask to see the paper and they tore it up in front of me."

WHY when you both signed did you not get two copies so each of you had a (wet) copy??

You gave this person the only copy and they tore it up in front of you. Now you have nothing in writing for the release.

Sounds like the leasing staff member messed up and the manager was trying to destroy the evidence.

How many more months are you on the hook for the primary term of the lease before you can terminate and give notice??

An attorney might look at the case for a consult. Verbal agreements are legal in many states but unenforceable generally in a court of law as it is your word against theirs and who the judge believes in court.

An attorney letter might scare them to just let you out of the lease.

No legal advice given.     

You are currently jointly and severally liable. The landlord does not have to release you until the time the lease expires, but it is really in their best interest to do so to maintain a good relationship with the person who stays.... that is, if the party that stays can meet the minimum criteria to rent on their own. 

We have a method for adding and removing tenants from rental agreements because it is not uncommon for the makeup of households to change over time. Your landlord is either being unreasonably inflexible or reasonably sees greater risk in renting only to your roommate. I would start by contacting the senior manager and asking "What would it take for me to be released from the contract?" How good is your relationship with the roommate who will be staying? Can you risk leaving your name on for the duration of the current lease? What does your original lease say about termination? 

Also consider the security deposit. When we release a tenant from the rental agreement, we do not return any security deposit because the security deposit stays with the unit. The outgoing tenant needs to get their portion of the security deposit paid out by the tenant who remains. After all tenants have moved out and the landlord regains possession of the unit, the landlord will need to do the final accounting on the disposition of the security deposit within the time line established by landlord-tenant law for the jurisdiction in which the property is located.

Try to see this from all sides and then get back to the negotiation table! Good luck!

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