I have lived with a friend since Sept. and recieve mail there. My friend who is on the lease has been gone from residence since Oct, 31 and has not been back or paid rent for Nov. He did leave a voice mail for me (out of the blue) on Nov. 22 telling me to get my stuff and move out. What are my rights if I come home to find that he has locked me out? Can he kick me out or does he have to give me proper notice? On Nov. 26 landlord posted a notice to postmark rent by Nov 27 or recieve a 3 day notice to pay or vacate. Should I contact landlord and explain situation? Am I subject to the same legal rights as tenant if I am not on lease? What are my rights to the landlord and to the tenant? What does it mean for tenant if they have been absent from the residence since Oct.31?
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
If he locks you out without a court order so authorizing, call the police. Theoretically one tenant does not have "standing" to terminate another tenant's tenancy because that is the landlord's perogative, not a tenants.
You can certainly explain the situation to the landlord; if you also pay the rent that is due and owing they are much less likely to evict you. Yes, you are a tenant if you live there, there is no legal requirement that you be "on the lease". If the tenant told you they were not coming back arguably they may have abandoned their tenancy (failure to pay rent coupled with affirmative words or conduct indicating an intent NOT to resume the tenancy).
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Real Estate Attorney
I agree with Ms. Powell and would suggest you approach the landlord with the rent in hand and try to negotiate a new lease. The landlord may not know anything about the situation and you should try getting on the lease and get your old roommate off the lease. Right now you may not have any rights in the lease but you might also not be responsible for the past due rent. Either way it is time to fix this issue.
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