I signed a year lease (August 2016-July 2017) with a realty company on a shared house (joint and several with individual rent responsibility). The company has an agreement with the house owner (whom I have never met) to manage the property. The realty company is cutting ties with the house owner after this month, and they have not yet heard back from him as to which company will be managing the house after this month. Since I signed the lease with the realty company and not the house owner, am I legally obligated to continue the lease? I would very much like to move out.

1 Answer 1


You do not specify a jurisdiction where this house is located. I am answering on the assumption that it is located in the United States, based upon your word usage in the question, and am providing an answer which would be the predominant rule in most U.S. jurisdictions, although it may not be the rule in absolutely every U.S. state.

It is almost certain that you actually signed a lease with the homeowner with the realty company merely serving as an agent of the homeowner, rather than actually signing a lease with the realty company itself. This is because the realty company would ordinarily not have any ownership interest in the house and hence would not have any authority to lease the house in its own right. Therefore, you remain bound by the lease to the same extent as you would if the realty company had not changed, because the owner remains the same. For that matter, you would be bound by the lease even if the owner of the house sold it to someone new, because a landlord can generally assign an existing lease to a new owner.

You will need to conduct further negotiations and interactions under the lease directly with the homeowner until a new management company is hired.

You can politely ask the homeowner to release you from the lease, and if the remaining tenants are willing to pick up your share of the rent, the homeowner might very well agree. But, the homeowner is generally under no obligation to agree.

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