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How do I get out of a lease agreement when my roommate and I can no longer get along?

Seattle, WA |

One year lease, signed by both myself and roommate. She has done nothing illegal but I can no longer be around her personally.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

A lease is a contract, and it is firm and the law will enforce it. But that does not mean that it cannot be modified. If you and the other parties agree, things can be changed.

First, try asking them to let you out of the lease. All you should have to do is sign an addendum that states you are leaving the lease, that the landlord accepts, that your roommate accepts, and that you will no longer be liable for any rent, repair, or utilities. Notice, get this done in writing, not verbally, and everyone gets a copy.

If that doesn't work, as suggested before, try to sublet (find your roommate a new roommate) to take over your portion.

Depending on how much longer your lease is, you can just go, but you may still be subject to rent owed even not being there.

Discuss things with your landlord and see what they will agree to. They don't have to agree, but unless they are Scrooge they may see the light. Make sure your portion is current when you do talk to them.


Is your lease agreement between you and your roommate, or between you and your landlord? This is just one question I would need answered before giving you an adequate answer. Your lease agreement may say something about what happens if one person wants to break the lease in order to move out. You might be able to sublet your room, or find another person to take over your lease. If neither of these options works, you can still move out but will probably be on the hook for rent. I recommend reviewing your lease agreement carefully, and checking with an attorney—many do free consultations—if you want to explore your options further.


If you and your roommate are both on the lease then you are jointly and severally liable for the rental agreement. You don't have to live there, but you are bound by the terms of the lease to pay your share of rent to the landlord. If you don't pay, you could be sued by your landlord and by your roommate.

One way you might possibly resolve this is to find another suitable person who could substitute in to the contract for you. This is totally up to the landlord and your roommate whether or not your proposed replacement is acceptable, you can't force them to accept a new person. But if they do, you could arguably be off the hook.

But if you leave, you are leaving your landlord and your roommate in the lurch and it is highly likely that you would face suit for breaking the lease on these facts. This could be a very expensive outcome because in addition to some portion of rent, you would also likely be found responsible for your landlord's and your roommate's attorney fees.

I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but there it is. Elizabeth Powell

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