Multiple Tenant Lease Agreements
Question: My boyfriend and I are both getting our master’s degrees at ASU. At the start of the fall semester we signed a 1-year lease for a home in Tempe. We are now breaking up, and I am going home to California to live with my parents for the summer rather than go to ASU summer school. My boyfriend said that he would be able to make the rent payments until the end of the lease in September. Even if he is able to make the monthly rent payments until then (which I doubt!), my boyfriend is a slob and I am concerned about getting my one-half of the $2,000 security deposit back at the end of the lease. Is there anything that I can do now?
Answer: If two or more people sign a lease, each person is jointly and individually liable for the obligations under the lease. Therefore, if your boyfriend does not make the monthly rent payments, e.g., moves out and files bankruptcy, you individually will be responsible for all of those monthly rent payments. In addition, you and your boyfriend are also both responsible for the condition of the home at the end of the lease. If the damage to the home is more than the $2,000 security deposit, you will not only lose your one-half share of the security deposit, you will be liable for the amount of any damages to the home that your boyfriend does not pay.
Note: You could propose a settlement, e.g., $1,500 payment to the landlord, to release you from all obligations under the lease.