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Old 12-31-2012, 10:05 AM
 
2 posts, read 3,666 times
Reputation: 10
Default How to Get Roommate off Month to Month Lease in CA

Okay here is a quick run down of what happened:

My roommate lost his job at the company I work for. Initially, I had gotten him the job based on the fact that I've known the guy for 8 years and his Girlfriend for 10 years (She is not on the lease or a part of this issue.) I thought what a wonderful thing it would be to help a friend and eventually we rented an apartment together and carpooled to work.

Well, things got nasty real quick. At work and at home he was refusing to do the minimal parts required, and he eventually lost his job (called his boss derogatory names and harassed the owner of the company.) This happened in December 2012. Our lease is a "month to month and ending on N/A (month to month)" as quoted from the lease. He took off two weeks ago and took some of my things while I was at work. I wrote off my loses. He did not tell me he was planning on leaving and left the door unlocked. So far as I can tell other than hot pockets there is nothing that belongs to him. He locked his bedroom door though (Key Lock) So I have no idea if he still has stuff in there. When I contacted him about the bills for November/December he said he didn't want to talk business because he was on vacation and would return after christmas.

I paid the bills in full because I didn't want my services shut off but have not disclosed that to him. I called him to find out what his plans were and texted him to see when he was returning both generated no response. He is several hours of a drive away (6hours) and does not own a vehicle. Rent is due for january and I'm full and ready to pay it, I can afford rent and bills without him.

However, when I talked to my apartment manager about paying rent and my situation she said she cannot get my locks changed until he signs a form stating that he will no longer be residing there. I need a way around that. As far as I can tell he skipped out. I do not want to have to go to small claims court, I'm cutting my losses and willing to pay the parts he failed to, I just want him to sign that stupid paper so he does not show up out of the blue expecting to live off my dime.

What can I do to get him off the lease, I really do not think he is going to be showing up anytime soon. I have my sister staying at my apartment in the event he thinks he is going to show up and steal my things while I am at work.

Please help, I'm in desperate need of a solution.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:14 AM
 
2 posts, read 3,666 times
Reputation: 10
I would also like to add that I paid the move in costs and security deposit in full. And that the lease does say, "Joint and Severally" if that helps at all.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:47 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
20,520 posts, read 22,551,554 times
Reputation: 21388
"Joint and severally" simply means that, since you're both signatories to the lease, the landlord can in event of any default on the lease sue one or both of you - basically whichever one of you is easier to find although he would name both in a lawsuit.

Thus it becomes an issue between you and your roommate. You have no legal problem removing the lock from the door to his room since this wasn't presumably part of your lease agreement with the LL. Since you're jointly and severally responsible for the lease, remove the lock and see what he has in there (and take dated photographs of every move you make). Send him via return receipt certified mail a letter advising him that, since he's defaulted on his share of rent payments, he has 30 days to remove whatever belongings he's left behind. Advise him that you will dispose of same if he fails to do so.

There's no doubt that you're in a tricky situation but the good part is that (a) you're on a month to month and not a term lease and (b) you CAN afford the unit without his contribution. I would copy the property management company with all correspondence between the two of you to be on the safe side (even though it's not their problem).

Strictly speaking you don't have a lease. You're on a simple month to month tenancy which can be ended at any time with (usually) 30 days notice from either side. You can check your state landlord tenant laws by going to the first "sticky" on this page and clicking on the appropriate link. In reality, I think you could give the PMC the required notice to quit and they'd have to go after your roommate for any outstandings. Totally your bad that you paid the security and move-in costs - but hopefully if you quit and leave the place in as good a condition as it was given to you, you'll get the security deposit back in full. Again, read your state's landlord tenant laws.

Check with your local Legal Aid office for advice. And don't enter into a living arrangement with anyone unless you have everything spelled out from the get-go AND understand the legalities of whatever arrangement you enter into. Good luck and Happy New Year!
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:43 PM
 
Location: New England
239 posts, read 243,539 times
Reputation: 202
Just out of curiosity - since both persons are on the lease, if the op did decide to move, how would things go regarding security? Could the landlord legally return only 1/2 the deposit since there are 2 names on the lease? I've never been in roommate situation, so don't really know how things like that work.
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