Roommate Question: 1 moving out, 1 staying

5 Replies

Property is in California.

Tenant A was living in the 2bed/2bath apartment first. Tenant B was added to the lease under the condition that if either tenant wanted to be removed, they would first be required to find a replacement tenant in order to avoid putting the financial burden on the other roommate. The property management company has a tenant release form that must be signed by all parties before anyone is removed/added to prove the transition was mutually agreed upon. 

Tenant B is now attempting to bypass that condition with little or no effort to find a replacement. They have not vacated the property yet and no move-out date has been mentioned by either tenant. 

Is it possible for Tenant A to make a case with the claim that Tenant B is neglecting their responsibility to find a replacement tenant? If Tenant A has evidence the lease is still active, but Tenant B has no evidence Tenant A agreed to assume 100% of the rent, shouldn't Tenant B remain accountable until a replacement is found?   

If not, what is the best option Tenant A has to defend themselves against Tenant B abandoning their agreement? 

Why are you assuming tenant B is attempting to bypass the agreement ??

If neither tenant has has given notice then what do you have to worry about?

Did you or PM  give a renewal notice that hasn't been responded to?

If so then give them a reminder.. 

Basically it seems your agreement holds both tenants equally responsible  for rent so if one stays the other would have to be signed off the rental agreement by the one staying and by management. If a new roommate is found they'd have to be screened and approved before being signed on lease.

If they both go they'd both have to sign notice for move out. 

Let them work out their own battles.. 

State law rules you should  check,  but I think your overthinking it.. 

Thanks for the reply, Deanna. Good questions.

I am Tenant A, so unfortunately this is potential battle that I cannot ignore. And for the sake of simplicity, let's just say that my assumptions are accurate because if I am wrong, then nothing happens and everyone complies with their commitments. 

So if anyone has recommendations for dealing with Tenant B in the event they abandon a property in the middle of a lease with over half a year worth of rent still owed, I would love some recommendations. Otherwise I may be consulting a real estate attorney soon. 

To begin if tenant B leaves you are responsible for 100% of the rent. Doubtful you will have any recourse against tenant B in court although you could try. Bottom line is if B bails it is your responsibility to find another room mate if you want one. You may be able to take B to court to collect the rent owed up to the date you find a replacement but you must prove you have made the effort to find a replacement.

What I would do is threaten the S**t out of tenant B. Lawyers, court the whole 9 yards and require that he find a replacement before he leaves or be held legally responsible for the rent. Remember your landlord must approve of the replacement and you probably will want to as well.

@Nate Hananger

So it's makes it easier when all the cards are on the table to begin with. :) Tenant A. 

Your in a not so nice position.

I would find out what the charge is for early lease termination with your landlord so you have that in your arsenal for future reference. 

I'd pressure the guy intending to move and not giving a yahoo about it, with the facts that he is responsible for the lease term, and the easiest way out for him (you both) is to pay a early release fee which is the lease termination fee if your landlord has one, or do a mutual off lease agreement but your not going to sign unless he compensates you for balance of rent or portion you can live with that's owed. I'd just say if you go, I go so then we'd both be up a creek and your just as able to leave him holding the bag, so HE gets that your ready to walk out also, so you'll both be hit for breach of lease.

He'd probably not expect that,,and would agree to the  fee to get the lease resolved and you'd be free to either move or continue on  your own and if new roommate is possible secure that in the future. Either way you look at it a lawyer isn't going to be able to work on anything until the guy is gone. and then that's going to cost you.. your stuck to cover his rent up for the duration of the lease.. if he does make an arrangement with you for rent until lease end I'd get it up front as likely he'd comply after he's gone is ZERO. Then you'd have to sue him for rent he owes, get a judgement if you win, and try and collect from a deadbeat which is hard to do. 

Roommate life is hard even when married and splits happen its a mess...Keep it civil don't make big enough issue he'd file restraining order on you or domestic abuse complaint.. 

If the tenant- whichever- doesn't pay the full rent total for the unit, I would proceed to evict per my lease.

It's not my problem if roommate B doesn't find roommate A a roommate replacement; roommate A still has to come up with the total rent, or I evict.

That would affect both tenant A and tenant B, and I would take all parties on the lease to small claims court to attempt to collect the rent due (after eviction).

The roommate who was bailed upon can choose to try to take their former roommate to small claims court too-- that's not my problem, nor does it affect who I will evict (both tenants) if total rent is not paid to me as agreed and who I will take to small claims for any rent due (both tenants).

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