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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016

    Angry Roommate is Moving Out and is Refusing to Pay Future Rent

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Maryland

    We moved here in September together and signed a 1 year lease to live here for work, but also as close friends. There's three of us, me (20y), a guy (25y), and a girl (23y). The guy was both our bosses when we moved, but I had to leave due to medical reasons early on. She quit the job we came here for because she felt unhappy and he offered her another position in the same office until she figured out what she wants to do with her life. She has continuously talked down to me and I haven't spoken to her unless it was necessary for weeks.

    Basically she feels miserable and trapped. Her boyfriend lives in her home state and she is constantly on the phone at work with him and her friends at home (our mutual friend is replacing her and shadowing her and saw that she completely disrespects the job she was given by our other roommate). She has made the attitude in the apartment and his office miserable as well. She has been cleaning less and less but staying home from work more and more.

    At first she claimed her parents would foot the bill until September if she moved out early, and now is claiming they will charge her rent when she moves back home (out of state) and she will have no money to foot the bill.

    She is claiming her only option is to find a random roommate (Our mutual friend who is taking her job told me she already has a job offer back in her home state that pays well enough to pay our $500 a month rent). I am trying to believe her, but she is back and forth about everything.

    She even got out of the extensive preparation for bed bug exterminators by having the flu on that Sunday while visiting her parents and told us she couldn't possibly be well enough to drive 3 hours back by Thursday, the day before the exterminators were scheduled (they refused to reschedule and told us we'd be fined if we did not pack everything she owns up and find a place to store it outside the apartment. Afterwards we found out her mom posted a picture of them at a fancy steak house on Friday and her whole family hanging out on their boat together for the day. Still trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, we did not bring it up and just packed her things up and left them on the balcony. We had to pack everything up for her in her room in garbage bags and tape them shut so she took this opportunity to come back on Monday and tell us she's moving this weekend and will pay until May.

    Ultimately she is trying to get out of paying off the 4 months after May.

    I am the only one living here who's ever lived on their own before with random people. Even though she dormed for college she roomed only with her best friends for all 4 years. The guy has never lived on his own before and we get along very well and have become best friends. I spent 3 years in a dorm, had many bad roommate experiences until I moved into a studio where I lived until I moved here. I told her I would not guarantee I'd approve of a stranger coming in and she will still need to pay if I do not find someone suitable.

    She's been very adamant about not paying past May and has repeatedly changed what her financial situation may or may not be, so I went on a legal help site using a letter of agreement template outlining her financial responsibilities (she has yet to sign and she is moving out in 2 days). They include the fees for resigning a new lease, possibly paying the new renters deposit because it's only for 4 months and we both want to live together in a 2 bedroom and never deal with another roommate again and it will be near impossible to ask someone for a deposit for 4 months, any expenses or price increases our apartment complex may give for her moving out mid lease, any fees needed for finding a new roommate, and also I included the rest of her extermination bills and give her 30 days after the last payment she makes to have her furniture removed or bought by the possible new roommate.

    I am currently sharing a bathroom with the girl (the guy has the master bedroom with his own bathroom) and she wants me to keep my 10x8 room because she claims that the new roommate should get her room which is about twice the size of mine because it'll be easier to find someone who wants a big room with private bathroom access. She basically told me that she can do whatever she wants and will advertise her room because it's easier (I personally don't think someone willing to sign a 4 month lease really cares what room they have, they will still have access to living room, balcony, bathroom, and kitchen).

    I have been storing things in both of the other bedrooms due to lack of space.

    Her room has it's own entrance to the bath and I find it to be very inappropriate that I should have to allow some stranger full access to the bathroom whenever they want (the lock for her bedrooms bathroom door is on the inside of the bedroom, therefore I can only lock the hallway door and they can technically walk in whenever). I am not a trusting person when it comes to roommates anymore, and she already called me difficult because I refused to consider a gay guy (or any guy) who was the first person she found in her search.

    I am trying to be reasonable but realistically finding someone willing to sign a 4 month lease is not going to be easy and we do live in Baltimore county which isn't as bad as the city, but we aren't far from the city and I've encountered and heard of many crazy people here. I plan on being very critical and requesting her to pay for background checks.

    Our apartment complex has already spoken with me and her separately and they are on my side and told us they have no involvement with her plan on replacing herself. She will be obligated to pay and they will refuse to break the lease if we do not accept someone new and/or if they do not accept whoever we bring to them for credit checks (but we will have to take her to court ourselves as they file the claim of unpaid rent against all of us and I don't have credit yet, the last thing I need is a record of bad credit).

    I've read that some states force you to make a reasonable effort to find someone to pay for the vacancy if it financially inconveniences the roommate that moves out. I feel that it is her responsibility and I am even willing to talk to her parents and ask them to hold off on charging her rent (if they actually are, I doubt it since they are in no need of the money and her room at home is still fully furnished with a full closet of clothes that she uses every other weekend when she drives home) until she can finish her obligation to our lease. I told her I don't care how she pays her share if we don't find someone she can take out a loan from her parents or the bank if she decides to not work (which is likely).

    If I do need surgery I will not be willing to accommodate for someone new moving in until I am better which will be at least a month or more if I scheduled it within the next few weeks that leaves a recovery until the end of may or longer and if it gets to be only 2 months left with no luck, it seems kind of ridiculous to expect us to continue searching for someone when we're both about to move out.

    Will I be seen as unreasonable in court if I make an attempt to find someone starting next week but end up not finding someone I hit it off with (I am not optimistic about finding someone I'd want to live with)? Is there any way she can force us to advertise it's her bedroom for rent or claim its unreasonable I didn't allow her to give the stranger the bigger bedroom? She claims she has the right, but I don't see it since she is moving and I can easily fit her queen size bed into my room along with the rest of her furniture so I don't see why I need to give some random person a choice of which room they get if they are the ones paying the rest of her rent which does not change per bedroom it is for the entire apartment as a whole.

    It is a really bad time for both of us as his business needs a lot of attention right now and I am currently dealing with chronic pain and possible surgery or very intensive physical therapy.

    She has no regard for us and has basically been acting as though she is doing us a favor.

    I'd prefer for her to pay her share but am willing to make an effort to interview roommates with no guarantee I will accept. I already wrote this in a text to her after I apologized for being rude (she disrespected me when we all tried to sit down and talk out the situation and I blew up for a second but I left the apartment right away for the night to avoid further fighting) so I do have proof I am willing to try and compromise.

    We can't accept anyone until May because the exterminators require all furniture and material items be 1-2 feet away from walls and bagged and placed outside the apartment every time they come in for treatments. I can't fit half of my furniture in my room right now so because of this our apartment looks like a mess. The last treatment is the end of April, and we said we'd interview potentials in the meantime but we obviously can't show them the place because we would have to explain the situation (and also I would like to know if it's ok for her to not disclose her mattress and box spring had bed bugs in the past? She wants to sell it to someone online or the potential new roommate, my mom told me I should buy bed bug covers for it after she moves so we can prevent the spread in case the exterminators miss something). If they are added to our lease I haven't asked if they will be added to the statement, but if they are they can see we had bed bug treatments which may turn some people away making it even harder. Do we have to disclose we were recently treated/her furniture has been treated for bed bugs? What are my options going forward with this situation IF things do not work out?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Roommate is Moving Out and is Refusing to Pay Future Rent

    Probably one percent of what you wrote is relevant. I'm boiling it down to your roommate's moving out early, and not wanting to pay her share of rent through the conclusion of the lease term.

    If permitted by your lease (or if not, if your landlord waives any restriction), you can make a reasonable effort to find a replacement roommate who will pay your former roommate's share of the rent. If at the end of that process there is a period of time for which your roommate's share of the rent was not paid, due to your not being able to reasonably find a roommate or have a roommate move in at an earlier date, you can consider suing your roommate in small claims court for any amount of unpaid rent she still owes under your agreement. Enforcement of a judgment will be complicated by the fact that your roommate now lives in another lease.

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