0

I'm in a predicament whereby my roomate is beginning to stay elsewhere and I'm not sure what my rights are. She was the only applicant and one that initialed(!) anything on the lease agreement. However, my name is listed along with hers as an obligated party. In parenthesis before the names of responsible parties there are the instructions (list all people signing the lease).

The very next section is in regard to Occupants. (list all other occupants NOT signing the lease). Whats written is "none other". It then says anyone not listed there cannot stay more than two consecutive nights.

Any light that could be shed on this situation would be greatly appreciated, as I feel confident she will imminently break the lease and I am not in a position at all to have to immediately vacate. Yes, I will be paying rent on time until it's a more feasible time to relocate.

All that said, Im wondering:

1.Am I legally locked into the lease simply because Im listed as a tenant?

--Im listed as Occupant on the leaase and it states on part one of the lease to list those who have signed the lease. I was nnot present for paperwork so I did not sign or initial anything. Wouldnt the application take legal precedence?

2.If Im not locked in the lease, can the landlord evict me without cause or > notice? 30 days?

3.If and when the ex breaks the contract, same question. Are my rights > contingent on her being an active tenant? What happens there, am I booted if or when she breaks it? 30 days?

4.If for some unforeseen reason I cannot make rent if or if not she is still on the lease, am I bound to normal liability for past rent and eviction fees? Shouldnt be a concern but things are not good right now.

Thanks for any insight and suggestions.

closed as off-topic by Nij, Dale M, A. K., JeffUK, Andrew Mar 15 at 22:16

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Seems you're pretty clearly a tenant, the absence of a technical signature notwithstanding, your conduct clearly shows that everybody agreed you are both tenants. – Nij Mar 1 at 3:35
  • Is there a question in there somewhere? – Dale M Mar 1 at 4:24
  • 2
    @PrestonBennett Yes, but it helps if you can identify the specific questions that you want us to answer. Put a numbered list of them at the end of your post. You may find that thinking over exactly what questions you want answered will help clarify the situation in your own mind too. – Paul Johnson Mar 1 at 8:40
  • Thank you @PaulJohnson. Doing so definitely cleared it up for myself and hopefully everyone else. – Preston Bennett Mar 1 at 20:18
2
  1. Am I legally locked into the lease simply because Im listed as a tenant?

I'm listed as Occupant on the leaase and it states on part one of the lease to list those who have signed the lease. I was nnot present for paperwork so I did not sign or initial anything. Wouldnt the application take legal precedence?

The first key question is whether you are in fact a Tenant, or merely an Occupant. A tenant is one who has a legal relationship with the landlord, based on signing a lease, or on an oral agreement. An occupant has no such relationship, he or she is there at the invitation of a tenant. See "Difference Between Leaseholders & Occupants" and "Landlord can't do much when tenant lets adult move in" for more information on this distinction.

You are apparently listed on the lease as a tenant, and the landlord has considered you as such. You have acted as a tenant, paying a share of the rent. But you say you did not sign the lease (Who signs the application does not control who becomes a party to the lease, although the landlord can refuse to accept a tenant who did not fill out an application.) If you wish to be a party to the lease, to be a tenant, you need do nothing. Everyone is treating you as a tenant, and you can consider that your roommate simply signed on your behalf. If you do not wish to be a tenant, you will need to notify the landlord promptly, in writing, that you never signed, nor did you wish to be a party to the lease. You may wish to consult a lawyer on the best way to word such a notification. You should also notify your roommate. Each of those choices will have consequences, which will affect the answers to the other questions, and which you should understand before deciding what you wan to do.

2.If I'm not locked in the lease, can the landlord evict me without cause or > notice? 30 days?

I can't find A specific provision in Texas law for this, so it is apparently going to depend on exactly what the lease says. If it prohibits occupants then the landlord can probably evict you on short notice, perhaps 30 days, and possibly evict your roommate for allowing you to live there. But since the lease has provision for occupants, it probably does not prohibit them. In that case the landlord probably cannot evict you as long as your roommate is a tenant, the rent is paid, and you do not damage the property or violate any of the house rules (which the lease should mention, if there are any). But your roommate could require you to move out at any time if you are not a tenant, unless you have an agreement with the roommate that says otherwise.

  1. If and when the ex breaks the contract, same question. Are my rights contingent on her being an active tenant? What happens there, am I booted if or when she breaks it? 30 days

First of all, she cannot simply "breaks the contract". She is liable for the rent until the end of the lease, unless the landlord has violated the terms, or some situation has come up which gives her a legal right to break the lease, such as the premises becoming uninhabitable (there are various other situations which permit a lease to be broken by the tenant).

At the end of the lease term either the tenant or the landlord can end the tenancy, but must usually give notice, depending on the terms of the lease. Many leases will automatically renew at the end unless either landlord or tenant gives notice, others will not.

So she probably cannot easily break the lease without being liable for continuing rent before the end of the lease term.

If you are a tenant, the same applies to you -- all tenants are jointly responsible for the rent until the end of the lease. And all tenants are protected in their tenancies during the lease, unless they fail to pay rent or otherwise seriously violate the terms of the lease.

If you are a tenant and your roommate leaves, you are entitled to stay, but are responsible for the entire rent, although you might be able to sue the roommate.

  1. If for some unforeseen reason I cannot make rent if or if not she is still on the lease, am I bound to normal liability for past rent and eviction fees? Shouldnt be a concern but things are not good right now.

If you are a tenant, you are responsible for the rent during the term of the lease, and for any damage to the rented dwelling (not counting normal wear and tear). However if the tenants leave before the lease is over, the landlord is required to use his or her best efforts to re-rent, and the tenants are responsible only for the difference, if any, between what the landlord gets from the new tenant(s) and what he would have received under the lease. This is known as the obligation to mitigate damages.

See more generally this Guide to Texas landlord/tenant law and this Landlord and Tenant Guide from Texas A&M. Evictions are discussed on pages 58-68 of the second guide.

  • I dont understand how I can legally be a tenant unless its clear to serve the interest of the landlord and I state such intention. However, I have no idea what I should do beyond stay one more month. Unless she was my wife or had POA, she cannot bind me to a contract, right?. IMO its clear that the lease agreement was simply drawn up haphazardly bc it says only list those that signed a lease. I have the other stated concerns bc this is a horrific situation that will drive me to leave tthis town or at least apt and i just want to know all the angles. Shes erradic and idk anymore what she'd do.. – Preston Bennett Mar 2 at 3:14
  • If you acted in such a way as to imply that you had agreed to be a party to the lease, that might be treated as equivalent to a signature. It is usually to the landlord's advantage to have all residents be tenants, not occupants who are not tenants. We cannot advise what you should do, merely what the law is. If you intend to leave, it maw well be to your advantage to challenge the idea that you are a party to the lease promptly. – David Siegel Mar 2 at 3:18
  • Honestly I had no idea what the stioulations were on the lease till i grabbed it yesterday. I doubt this assertion that if i acted then so I am in terms of tenancy. Im no expert at all but I dont see it. I just want to know these different scenarios so I can be prepared for anything and allow myself the greatest opportunity to make the best informed decision- whenever that may be and under any stated circumstances. But yes of course I know the smart and least risky thing to do is decide now and see to the agreement to stay or desire to leave, both of which seem to be valid options right now. – Preston Bennett Mar 2 at 3:34

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.