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Thread: Mr. Finkelstein, I am in need of your advice

  1. #1

    Mr. Finkelstein, I am in need of your advice

    Okay, so I currently have a friend/roommate who wants to move out before our lease is up. We are renting a condo from a private owner, not an apartment complex. I have no idea the specifics of our lease agreement and I don't have a copy on hand. Let's say hypothetically my roommate works it out with our landlord and is able to get out of the lease by paying a late fee or whatever. So, what are my rights and what are my landlords rights when it comes to re-leasing to somebody. Me and my roommate are living in a 3 bedroom condo, but we're using the 3rd bedroom as an entertainment room. Obviously I only entered into the lease agreement because I was going to be living with somebody I know. Can my landlord re-rent the 2nd, or even 3rd bedroom now to whomever she chooses? Our lease is officially supposed to end September 1st.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous View Post
    Okay, so I currently have a friend/roommate who wants to move out before our lease is up. We are renting a condo from a private owner, not an apartment complex. I have no idea the specifics of our lease agreement and I don't have a copy on hand. Let's say hypothetically my roommate works it out with our landlord and is able to get out of the lease by paying a late fee or whatever. So, what are my rights and what are my landlords rights when it comes to re-leasing to somebody. Me and my roommate are living in a 3 bedroom condo, but we're using the 3rd bedroom as an entertainment room. Obviously I only entered into the lease agreement because I was going to be living with somebody I know. Can my landlord re-rent the 2nd, or even 3rd bedroom now to whomever she chooses? Our lease is officially supposed to end September 1st.
    It sounds like your rights are limited here.

    I would have to know more about the situation in order to give you a fully accurate answer.

    Did you and your roommates enter into the contract together? Did you all sign the same document with all three of your names on it?

    If that is true, you and your remaining roommate will be responsible for half the rent, instead of 1/3 of the rent, until you find another roommate. You can't just turn the 3rd room into an entertainment room and together pay 2/3rds of the rent!

    The good news is that the choice of replacement roommates is yours. The landlord cannot force a new person upon you, unless you cannot pay the departed roommate's share of the rent, and are not replacing him with someone else. The landlord also has to accept any reasonable replacement roommate. That is, the replacement has to have good credit and otherwise qualify. By "otherwise qualify" I mean that he doesn't have pets (if the rental agreement forbids pets), doesn't have a criminal record (or at least, one that the landlord would be able to find out), and doesn't have any obvious "gotchas" that would make him an unsuitable tenant to most people. If the new roommate is just the average guy with average credit and is willing to abide by all terms of the current rental agreement, your landlord has to accept him.

    Again, you alternatively have the choice to have NO third roommate, and simply cover his part of the rent.

    You do NOT have the right to just leave the landlord in the lurch regarding 1/3 of the overall rent. If he made any deals with the departing roommate, that would go toward that last 1/3 of the rent, but only up to the limit of what the guy paid. For example, if the roommate had 5 months left on his lease but paid only 2 months, you would only owe your normal rent for those 2 months, but would be legally responsible for that portion of the rent for the 3 months following that, unless you replaced him immediately.

    The one exception here would be if you were all rented rooms individually on different contracts. If this is the case, you have no rights to control the landlord's choice of the replacement roommate, but at the same time would NOT be responsible for the rent of the departed roommate, even if it didn't get re-rented.

    My questions:

    1) Was this rental agreement signed jointly? Or was it three separate contracts -- one for each person, with the other two parties not named at all on each contract?

    2) Do you know what the deal was that your departing roommate made with the landlord? How much money did he pay? How does that money correspond with the rent?

    3) Are you okay with covering the departing roommate's rent (or at least splitting it with your remaining roommate) in place of another roommate coming in?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Alvin Finklestein View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous View Post
    Okay, so I currently have a friend/roommate who wants to move out before our lease is up. We are renting a condo from a private owner, not an apartment complex. I have no idea the specifics of our lease agreement and I don't have a copy on hand. Let's say hypothetically my roommate works it out with our landlord and is able to get out of the lease by paying a late fee or whatever. So, what are my rights and what are my landlords rights when it comes to re-leasing to somebody. Me and my roommate are living in a 3 bedroom condo, but we're using the 3rd bedroom as an entertainment room. Obviously I only entered into the lease agreement because I was going to be living with somebody I know. Can my landlord re-rent the 2nd, or even 3rd bedroom now to whomever she chooses? Our lease is officially supposed to end September 1st.
    It sounds like your rights are limited here.

    I would have to know more about the situation in order to give you a fully accurate answer.

    Did you and your roommates enter into the contract together? Did you all sign the same document with all three of your names on it?

    If that is true, you and your remaining roommate will be responsible for half the rent, instead of 1/3 of the rent, until you find another roommate. You can't just turn the 3rd room into an entertainment room and together pay 2/3rds of the rent!

    The good news is that the choice of replacement roommates is yours. The landlord cannot force a new person upon you, unless you cannot pay the departed roommate's share of the rent, and are not replacing him with someone else. The landlord also has to accept any reasonable replacement roommate. That is, the replacement has to have good credit and otherwise qualify. By "otherwise qualify" I mean that he doesn't have pets (if the rental agreement forbids pets), doesn't have a criminal record (or at least, one that the landlord would be able to find out), and doesn't have any obvious "gotchas" that would make him an unsuitable tenant to most people. If the new roommate is just the average guy with average credit and is willing to abide by all terms of the current rental agreement, your landlord has to accept him.

    Again, you alternatively have the choice to have NO third roommate, and simply cover his part of the rent.

    You do NOT have the right to just leave the landlord in the lurch regarding 1/3 of the overall rent. If he made any deals with the departing roommate, that would go toward that last 1/3 of the rent, but only up to the limit of what the guy paid. For example, if the roommate had 5 months left on his lease but paid only 2 months, you would only owe your normal rent for those 2 months, but would be legally responsible for that portion of the rent for the 3 months following that, unless you replaced him immediately.

    The one exception here would be if you were all rented rooms individually on different contracts. If this is the case, you have no rights to control the landlord's choice of the replacement roommate, but at the same time would NOT be responsible for the rent of the departed roommate, even if it didn't get re-rented.

    My questions:

    1) Was this rental agreement signed jointly? Or was it three separate contracts -- one for each person, with the other two parties not named at all on each contract?

    2) Do you know what the deal was that your departing roommate made with the landlord? How much money did he pay? How does that money correspond with the rent?

    3) Are you okay with covering the departing roommate's rent (or at least splitting it with your remaining roommate) in place of another roommate coming in?
    Thank you for your assistance Alvin. The rental agreement was signed jointly. I guess I wrote my original post in an unclear manner. The condo we are renting has 3 bedrooms, but it's just me and my roommate who live in it (and we use the 3rd bedroom as an entertainment room). So if he departs, it'll be just me. Basically we worked it out between ourselves and I said I'd allow him to leave if he continued to pay $195/mo as a penalty for leaving early. We only have 4.5 months left on our lease, so I'm just going to pay the entire $1150 rent until the agreement runs out because I don't want to get a new roommate and I can afford to do so. He also expressed willingness to pay more than $195/mo if he gets his FTP money (my roommate has a 6 digit sum of money on Full Tilt).

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