Roommate Legal Issues: What Are Your Rights if Your Name Is Not on the Lease?

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Roommate Legal Issues: What Are Your Rights if Your Name Is Not on the Lease?

Staff Writer · Jan 26, 2010

As a new roommate, you might find yourself with roommate legal Issues. Knowing your rights before you move in can save a lot of time and money in the future. When choosing a rental, there are different options to fit different needs. One option is to move in with someone who already has a leased apartment, to share the rent with them. While there are advantages to not having your name of the lease, there are also some disadvantages. Both will be explored.

Advantages To Not Having Signed A Lease

One main advantage to not having a signed lease is that rent is on a month-to-month basis. This way, if the apartment isn’t what you had expected, or if you just want to move, this can be done simply, just by packing and leaving. No strings attached.Another positive is that if, as the roommate, you want to move out, you are not tied to the requirement of giving the standard 30-day notice. You don’t have to worry about getting a deposit back either, which can be a headache sometimes. By not signing a lease, freedom is ensured.

Downside of Not Signing a Lease

On a more negative note, not having your name on the lease could turn into a bad situation quickly. A lease outlines who resides in the rental, how long the party or parties are required to reside in the unit, and spells out deposit information. Without this document, a person would not have proof of being a legal resident. By not having signed a lease, you have no proof of rights. No signature means no peace of mind. Being in a roommate situation, without the lease, could always end at any second. Suppose the roommate is fed up with your actions-they could demand you vacate immediately, and you would have no legal right to remain. Without a lease, the landlord would be free to increase rent at the end of every 30 days. Also, by not signing a lease, security of remaining and stability within the rental are not available to the renter.

How to Know Which Option to Take

This decision should be based on several factors. How compatible are you and the resident of the rental? Is this a fair and trustworthy person?  Also, knowing the background of the landlord is a good idea. Does he take care of his property? What shape is the interior/exterior of the building? It might also be able to check the background of the landlord through the Better Business Bureau. Being educated on all parties can not hurt anything.

Learning from The Past

Family and Friends will have opinions on this subject, but ultimately, the choice is yours. Go into the situation with your eyes open, and be prepared for any possibility. By knowing some of the positives and negatives of not signing  a lease, you are equipped to make the best choice for you.

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