Roommate vs Tenant Agreement

This is a discussion on Roommate vs Tenant Agreement within the Landlord vs Tenant Issues forum, part of the REAL ESTATE & PROPERTY LAW category; I'm a landlord with a signed lease agreement naming two people as tenants however, its only been 6 months into ...

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Old Oct 8th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #1
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Confused Roommate vs Tenant Agreement

I'm a landlord with a signed lease agreement naming two people as tenants however, its only been 6 months into a 2 year lease agreement and one tenant wants a "roommate release" due to personal issues. Is there a difference between a roommate agreement and a regular lease agreement? And since this is not a "roommate agreenment" wouldn't this be considered an early termination of the lease agreement?

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Old Oct 9th, 2008, 10:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Roommate vs Tenant Agreement

Your tenant wants to terminate early. This can only happen if a) you approve of it and b) if BOTH tenants agree to it. If one tenant does not agree, or if you don't think the remaining tenant can qualify on his own, then the tenant may not terminate early. He will remain responsible for the remaining period of the lease term (even if he chooses not to live there). He will not be released unless you all sign a written agreement to that effect.

It makes no difference what type of lease this is. Fact is, the tenants are both on the lease together and both are responsible for the terms of the lease. Perhaps you should make them aware of that information.
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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 09:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: Roommate vs Tenant Agreement

I have 2 tenants sharing my 2 bedroom condo. I have individual lease agreements with them as the moved in at different dates. Is it illegal to have 2 individual leases for each roommate?
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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 10:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Roommate vs Tenant Agreement

I have 2 tenants sharing my 2 bedroom condo. I have individual lease agreements with them as the moved in at different dates. Is it illegal to have 2 individual leases for each roommate?

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Old Oct 20th, 2008, 11:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Roommate vs Tenant Agreement

No, it's not illegal. It's just not smart. If there are two different leases, one can terminate and the other can stay. The one who stays gets to continue to pay only his share of the rent. So you'll only be getting half the rent until you can get another tenant in there. Hopefully, the tenant will agree on a new roommate. If he doesn't agree and they have to share the condo, you're only going to get 1/2 the rent. Unless they have seperate locked areas they rent, the roommate will have to agree on the new tenant. Seperate leases are used in rooming situations where there are keyed locks on their own doors. With no bedroom door locks, how does he keep the roommate out of his stuff?
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Old Oct 21st, 2008, 05:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: Roommate vs Tenant Agreement

well one tenat who doesnt have a lock has not paid rent for over 2months so i've decided not to re-new her 6m lease which ends November. Other tenant has a lock to her room and wants to break her lease which ends May09. She has gone on to file a law suit stating it is illegal to have 2 different leases per roommate in one condo. I still have not head from her attorney, but i have searched online nonstop and do not see any ordinace confirming her statement.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 11:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: Roommate vs Tenant Agreement

By having seperate leases, you are renting rooms, not the entire condo. Is your condo zoned for roomers by the city or the COA? If not, that may be where the tenant gets the idea it is illegal. But actually, it's just a zoning violation, not a criminal act. Depending on the city or COA, the penalty may be only a small fine or an order to stop renting rooms.

If there is no ordinance or COA rule about rommers, you are free to do so. But in future leases I would make sure this is written clearly so they know they only rent the room and share the common spaces. Put key locks on each BD door to emphasize this.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 05:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Roommate vs Tenant Agreement

Brilliant!! thank you sooooooo much for that info. Lesson learnt.
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 11:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: Roommate vs Tenant Agreement

I have had a room mate that i did not get along with, I'm the neat freak where she was a dirty, lazy person, we have faught and just couldn't get along. we have signed a 1 yr lease contract with her mom being a cosigner, from May 19/08 - May 19/09, but because we couldn"t get along, for the fact she couldn't clean up after herself and her friends after making a discusting mess, she has gone to the lawyer to write up a contract stating she would take over the remainder of the rent from Jan 19,09, including cable, and hydro. Now because she has taking over the rent, and i have already paid all of Jan, would i be intitledto get from the 19 to the 31 of jan rent back from her?
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 01:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Roommate vs Tenant Agreement

A couple problems here. Your lease contract isn't with the roommate, it is with the LL. You need to see if HE will release you from the obligations under the lease. Otherwise, you could move out, she could stop paying, then the LL would still have the right to sue you for the rent owed since you were still on his lease. Talk to him and tell him what your roomate has proposed. If he approves, get it in writing that you are no longer obligated under the lease. He may not allow this unless she makes 3-4 x the rent alone. If he doesn't, you are still on the hook for all the obligations under the lease, no matter what the roommate agrees to do. If she doesn't pay them, you could be sued for these.

If he does OK it and gives you a signed release, you are no longer obligated for any obligation under the lease from that date forward (not from January 19th). Remember the LL is the only one who can release you from these obligations, not your roommate. She could agree to refund your rent from that date on.

Then get it in writing from the roommate that you are no longer responsible for monies due the ex-roommate.

One last item - the deposit. Did you put up half the deposit at lease signing? Will she refund half of the deposit amount to you? (Don't expect the LL to do this. He won't release that money until the unit is completely vacated.) You could inform the LL in writing that you are still entitled to half the deposit when she finally does vacate as you are not giving up your interest in it. But what if she damages the place after you leave? The LL doesn't care who did the damage and will just deduct it from the deposit. You will get penalized for her damages. If you can't get your share of the deposit upon leaving now, I suggest you document well your areas and the areas that are common to prove that there were no damages when you left. (Dated digital photos, or photos that you mail to yourself - then leave them sealed in the postmarked envelope to prove when they were taken.) Then you would have to sue the ex-roommate after she is refunded the deposit to get your share of the money for any damages she caused.
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