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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Girlfriend is on the Lease, Moved Out, What Are My Rights

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Virginia, in the City of Alexandria. This past weekend my girlfriend broke up with me and moved out. She cosigned the lease with me, and we have always each paid half the rent each for the entire lease. She is now demanding I terminate the lease with her immediately. This entails paying two months rent, plus a $600 redecorating fee, plus forfeiture of security deposit. I have so far refused. I need to least stay until May because I'll be getting my Master's in May, and I'm not wanting to uproot my life just yet. Our lease ends in September. This is a one bedroom apartment and I cannot afford the monthly rent on my own. What are my rights? Is she obligated to pay her half of the lease? If so, and she refuses can I take her to small claims court? If I win and she still won't pay what I can I do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Girlfriend is on the Lease, Moved Out, What Are My Rights

    Right now you and she are both on the lease, and a typical lease makes you jointly liable for rent. That means if you end up owing your landlord money the landlord can choose to go after one, the other, or both of you for the amount owed.

    In terms of your agreement to split the rent, you describe a past practice of splitting it down the middle. You have an argument that she should pay her half of the rent, but she has a counter-argument that you can mitigate your damages through early termination of the lease and should not recover more than half of (two months rent, plus a $600 redecorating fee, plus forfeiture of security deposit) no matter when you move out.

    We don't know the circumstances of the breakup. If she claims she had to move out for her personal safety, that could also become a factor in whether she owes a continuing share of the rent.

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