There are many unfortunate scenarios that can happen to anyone who is a renter. Knowing about these scenarios can greatly improve your chances of NOT ruining your credit or your rental history. I think one of the most common catastrophes can result from signing a lease with a roommate. While roommates are fantastic (I’ve a had a few myself) there are some issues that can arise that are much worse than bad bathroom habits.
Scary Roommate Scenarios
The Rebel Roommate: Your roommate has a party with out your knowledge. He calls it hanging out with a few people after work at 1 am on a Tuesday. Your neighbor calls security to voice their complaint. Are you at fault? Yes, you’re responsible. Not only are you responsible for the noise and any damages but there is also the chance your landlord could give you notice to move if it is a reoccurring problem. Every tenant has the right to peaceful enjoyment of their home.
Keep in mind some people live in tombs where you can hear the clock ticking. I once had two neighbors feuding over television noise…one was a tomb dweller and the other enjoyed WWF every evening. <sigh> Sometimes it’s difficult to discern peaceful enjoyment…just part of the joy of living with lot’s of neighbors.
The I Don’t Have My Share of the Rent Roommate: What happens when your roommate can’t cough up their part of the rent? Many leases require that anyone over the age of 18 sign the lease. When all parties sign the lease it normally means that you are jointly responsible (Like Marriage) unless there is a specific clause that states otherwise (many college towns may have specific leasing programs designed just for this).
Under normal circumstances, just because you paid your half doesn’t get you off the hook for the other half, the notice to pay rent or quit (eviction notice) will be made out in all names. This includes co-signers.
The I'm Moving Out before the Lease Expires Roommate: So your roommate is in love and can’t wait to move in with her honey. Leaving you high and dry…unless you decide to release your roommate from the contract. Your landlord will also have to agree to the release and normally it will be contingent upon you qualifying to pay the full rent on your own. If your landlord won’t allow it, or perhaps you want to hold your roommate to the deal you have full rights to do so. However, if your roommate doesn’t pay their share each month after moving, you’ll have to come up with it on your own or face eviction proceedings. The upside is that by keeping all of your documentation including rental receipts you will have a very good case in civil court to sue for the monies owed.
There are a ton of other SCARY SCENARIOS when signing a Lease is involved. If you have any questions or Scenarios you’d like to add I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment or shoot me an email at Jen@RealtyJen.com