Need help in Rhode Island to terminate my year lease early. Roomate

Discussion in 'Roomate & Joint Leases' started by kevdood83, Aug 16, 2010.

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  1. kevdood83

    kevdood83 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello,

    My name is Kevin. I live in Rhode Island.

    I desire to terminate early a year lease with 10 months remaining. It is a CO-SIGNED lease. The CO-signer is still not sure if he is leaving or staying.

    The land lord is really nice, I want to do things the right way as best I can. But the roomate and I do not get along, I need to leave.

    According to Rhode Island Landlord/Tennant laws § 34-18-37 it says this:



    Termination of periodic tenancy. – (a) The landlord or the tenant may terminate a week-to-week tenancy by a written notice, in a form substantially similar to that provided in § 34-18-56(c), delivered to the other at least ten (10) days before the termination date specified in the notice.

    (b) The landlord or the tenant may terminate a month-to-month tenancy or any periodic tenancy for more than a month or less than a year by a written notice, in a form substantially similar to that provided in § 34-18-56(c), delivered to the other at least thirty (30) days before the date specified in the notice.

    (c) The landlord or tenant may terminate a year-to-year tenancy by written notice, in a form substantially similar to that provided in § 34-18-56(c), delivered to the other at least three (3) months prior to the expiration of the occupation year.

    (SOURCE: ww.rilin.state.ri.us/statutes/title34/34-18/index.htm )




    Section "C"... the one regarding year-to-year leases and is what applies to me... It is confusing to me though... it says "the landlord or tenant may terminate" and I must send post-marked-mail a letter of termination "at least three (3) months prior to the expiration of the occupation year."

    So that means either myself or the landlord can terminate a year long lease early? So long as either party does it 3 months before the last day of my lease time?

    Does anyone here know Rhode Island Tennancy laws at all? Im so confused and nervous about what to do.

    Also, I intend to buy a house next year and live at my parents to save $$ in the mean-time.. so I dont want my credit score ruined.. its currently 750+ and I've worked hard to build it up.
     
  2. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    What this means is that if you do not intend to renew your lease after the natural termination date you must notify your landlord at least 3 months prior to this termination date. This is so the landlord can begin to find replacement tenants to begin a new lease shortly after yours terminates.

    It does not mean you can terminate the lease early without the risk of a legal penalty. Which might occur if you broke your current lease 10 months early.

    Your best bet is to discuss whether you can find another tenant to take your place on this lease. Often, both the landlord and the other roommates must also agree to this change.

    Gail

    Gail
     
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  3. kevdood83

    kevdood83 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the reply,

    OK, so I need to ask my landlord about subletting my place. What if my roomate does not agree?

    Also what happens if my roomate simply vacates the premise one night and leaves me high and dry?
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    All of those things could and do happen. If they do, you're stuck.

    If you sublet and your tenant
    defaults, you're on the hook for paying.

    Subletting is risky.
    Roommates are risky.
    If your roommate leaves, you're still stuck.
    By the way, the roommate isn't a
    co-signer, he's a tenant.

    The best way to save your credit score is ask your landlord to let you buy out of the lease. It'll cost you something, but you'll walk away never having to worry over the next 10 months. You also protect your credit. Otherwise, your credit will take a hit. The roomie or the subletting tenant will screw you. It always happens.

    By the way, subletting tenants are risky. They usually have bad credit. Otherwise, why can't they rent apartments in their own name? Their credit is poor, they have been evicted, they're a nightmare. Avoid subletting at all costs, if you want to protect your credit score.
     
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  5. kevdood83

    kevdood83 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Ok; so lets say he leaves. Can I take him to small claims court at a later date for the $4,000 total he bailed on?

    What if I also get the landlord to sign and date a letter acknowledging he was the one who abandoned, and save all my rent receipts showing I paid both halves in full for 10 months?

    Would that be enough to later go to small claims?
     
  6. MorgansDaddy

    MorgansDaddy New Member

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    If HE is the one to skip out on the lease, yes he could be made to pay for his half of the lease just as you could be if you skip out on the lease early. The buyout option, if agreed to by the landlord that Gail suggested is the best option for you, or staying and sucking it up if things aren't too bad would be another good option. Any other option isn't a good one because of all the risk involved.
     
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  7. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    Couple of problems with this thinking....

    1. Small claims in Rhode Island only handles lawsuits up to $2500.

    2. The court will likely require that you provide proof of attempting to find another tenant to take your roommates place.

    3. Many sue (and win) but that's no guarantee you'll ever see a penny of this judgement.

    Gail
     
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  8. kevdood83

    kevdood83 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hmm, sounds like I'll be up poops creek without a paddle.

    Thats kind of lame. It seems like in Rhode Island laws are more land-lord friendly....



    If he bails, I guess I'll just have to try and work something out with the landlord (who is really nice) about buying out.

    It almost sounds like whichever one of us bails first leaves the other one high and dry. :(

    Kind of like a race, but a really crappy one.
     
  9. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    ?Landlord friendly laws in Rhode Island? What do you mean by that?

    As adults you and your roommate signed a contract; a year lease, both agreeing to pay the rent. Now that the roommate situation appears to have gone belly up after two months together, you'd like to find a legal way to leave that won't negatively affect your credit history.

    It's not up to your landlord to monitor how you and your roommate are getting along. Sounds like he's being fairly generous on this buy out issue. Some landlords wouldn't be.

    I'm going through the same situation with two roommates who signed a lease and then one changed her mind. Met with both of them (and a mother who stuck her nose far too deep into the entire issue) and gave them their options:

    1. Roommate could change her mind and move in and continue paying rent.

    2. Roommate could continue to pay her share of the rent even if she didn't more in.

    3. Roommate could refuse to pay any more rent and I'd be seeing her in court fairly soon.

    4. Roommate could get off her duff and find a suitable replacement (approved by both myself and the second roommate) for her portion of the rent.

    Gail
     
  10. kevdood83

    kevdood83 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I think if he were to abandon at this point I would;

    Talk to the landlord about a buyout, and then make a claim against my roomate in court. The buyout would probably be for under $2,500, so I could still take it to small claims in Rhode Island for half of what I had to pay.

    Our lease says they may attack our credit if we break the terms of the lease, They can go after his for all I care, but I would think I'd be excempt from that since I would only leave if they agree to a buyout.

    No matter what I want to do what's legal. Its not worth ruining my credit.

    But basically the roomate is an off the wagon alcoholic who throws parties till 4AM and gets the cops called while myself and the neighbors are trying to sleep. He's also confrontational and has been late with the rent a couple times. And now he's threatening to just move out. I kind of wish he just would.
     
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