If your relationship has ended and both of you signed the apartment lease, you may need to negotiate which one of you will keep living in the residence -- and keep paying the rent -- while the other one moves. If you're the one who's moving and you want your name off the lease, getting it removed will depend on your landlord's willingness to do so and a number of other factors.
Common Points for Renters
- Always notify your landlord of any changes in your living arrangements.
- The landlord doesn't legally have to remove your name from the lease regardless of the circumstances.
- Your landlord may agree to remove your name from the lease at his discretion if you ask him to do so.
- If your name remains on the lease, and your ex doesn't pay the rent or damages the apartment, you could be held responsible.
- The landlord could choose to evict both of you when notified that one of you is moving out, especially if both incomes and credit reports were used to qualify you for the apartment.
- You can search for a replacement roommate. If the roommate meets the landlord's criteria, he may allow her to take over the lease for you, the departing tenant.
Legally Separated Couples
A married couple living apart for any more than a brief period may have a legal separation agreement. This agreement oversees obligations the couple have together, including a lease. The separation agreement may spell out which spouse will continue to live in the rented residence and whether one or both spouses will pay the rent.
When it comes to divorce, an apartment lease signed by both spouses may be considered marital property. In some cases, the divorcing couple can ask the court to determine who retains the right to live in the apartment. A divorce settlement may impact your ability to have your name removed from an apartment lease.
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A cohabiting relationship doesn't have the advantage of court supervision when it ends and is treated like a roommate who wants to move out early. If the partners signed a roommate agreement, however, the agreement may be enforceable.
Breaking a Lease
If your ex moves out and you cannot afford the rent, you have some protection against loss should you break the lease. In most states, the landlord must take steps to rent the apartment; he can't just let it sit empty and simply sue you for the rent you owe.