Posted Mar 2, 2015
My Roommate is Moving Out Early… Now What?
If you walk into your apartment only to find your roommate moving out unexpectedly, it’ll probably leave you feeling stuck in quite the pickle. It’s frustrating and anxiety-inducing when your roommate decides to jump ship unexpectedly, leaving you trying to sort out the mess.
Such situations lead to a fight or flight response. Do you opt to break your lease or try to find a new roommate? Having a roommate move out early makes for a complicated situation, but here is some advice to help you through the next steps:
Do You Have A Fixed-Term or Month-to-Month Lease?
If you have a month-to-month lease, you have a bit more leeway regarding how you decide to proceed. In this situation, your roommate is still responsible for paying their share of the rent through the end of the rental agreement, even if he or she hasn’t notified the landlord.
Since you’re only renting by month, if you choose to move out, you can notify your landlord and not get stuck staying in an apartment that no longer suits your needs.
A fixed-term lease makes things a bit more complex. Since your roommate is technically violating the rental contract by moving out early, your landlord has the authority to evict everyone in the unit. Therefore, if your landlord is not particularly fond of you and the other people in your living space, he or she may simply tell you to hit the road.
Keep in mind that the first thing your landlord will likely be wondering is whether or not you can continue making the rent payments. If you live in an expensive neighborhood in a major city, having a roommate can make all the difference.
Odds are you had to provide some type of information about your salary or credit history when you moved into the apartment, so your landlord probably already has a handle on your ability to pay in the absence of a roommate.
Do You Want To Stay?
If you decide you want to stay and you’re a good tenant, your landlord may be willing to let you seek out a new roommate. Make sure that before you invite anyone to move in, you get your landlord’s formal approval (get everything in writing).
Your landlord may be skeptical of your new roommate choices considering your previous one flaked early so it may take a little convincing for him or her to come around, depending on the circumstances.
Also, remember that there’s probably a clause in your rental agreement that mandates that your landlord must approve sublets. A new roommate moving in falls under this category. Keep your landlord in the loop and make sure to get all the proper paperwork– otherwise your landlord has a concrete reason to evict you.
What’s Your Back-Up Plan?
Help facilitate the transition to new renters as courteously as possible so that you’re not stuck paying the rent for months or so you don’t lose your security deposit. Make sure to provide a written plan for your move out and explain your reason for terminating the lease.
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