I rented an apartment in California whose lease ends in 12 months.

Now I got a job in another state and have to leave.

Instead of paying lease break charges, I wanted to add a new person as roommate and wanted to share with him half rent for 4 months and then he will pay full rent after 4 months.

We have this email communication with that new person saying I will pay half rent only for 4 months and then he has to pay full rent, will that email communication enough or will it cause any problems later?

I will add new person to the leasing also based on confirmation email accepting my terms from him

  • 3
    You write about adding this new person to the lease as a roommate. Do you actually have a right to do that in your existing contract with the landlord? Unless your lease contract says that you can do this, then you can't do it without talking to your landlord and getting their consent for your plan. Even if you lease contract allows you to add a roommate, it may not necessarily allow that roommate to automatically take over the contract from you. Again - you need to work this out with your landlord.
    – brhans
    Commented May 3, 2023 at 16:43

2 Answers 2


Ordinarily, you are responsible for the rent and other damages for the duration of the lease, thus for another 12 months. If you walk away from the apartment and don't pay rent, the landlord can sue you for those 12 months of unpaid rent. But, the landlord does have to make an effort to re-rent the apartment, thereby mitigating his loss. Hypothetically speaking, that might mean that you are stuck with two months rent, assuming that it is fairly easy to re-rent the unit. You would also be liable for his expenses (including advertising and legal, also lost rent in case the unit had to be re-rented at a lower rate). Leases sometimes have a "liquidated damages" clause, saying that for a flat fee, the landlord may agree to terminate the lease. If you pay the termination fee, that might be cheaper and much easier (and better credit history-wise) that disappearing and having him sue you for actually breaking the lease.

It is almost certainly required in the lease, if there is an early termination clause, that you have to get the landlord's consent. The "lease break charge" is presumably the liquidated damages for early termination clause, and you don't actually "break" the lease. The problem with your unofficial plan is that if the other guy just takes off without paying, you will be stuck with a lawsuit and end up paying more money than you planned.

  • If I add him also to the leasing as roommate, then with the email proof, do I still need to pay rent after 4 months, please suggest, thank you for your response Commented May 3, 2023 at 1:51
  • 1
    You cannot unilaterally change the contract by adding a person, but if the landlord agrees, you can do whatever you agree to. "Email proof" is only relevant to what you would need to prove in court if you sue the roommate for breach of contract, and has no effect on your obligation to pay rent for the next year.
    – user6726
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 20:29

You need absolute written buy in from the landlord.

His agreement is with you, not this new person. If the new person stops paying for whatever reason, then landlord is coming after you.

  • Sorry I missed to mention that I will add him to lessing also but wont pay rent after 4 months as per email Commented May 3, 2023 at 1:53
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    @user2225190 So the landlord would approve of you subletting the premises?
    – ohwilleke
    Commented May 3, 2023 at 1:57
  • no, my name will be there and his name also will be there in lease but I wont pay rent after 4 months Commented May 3, 2023 at 1:58
  • As my name also will be there means it is not subletting right and leasing office has rights to contact me for any losses Commented May 3, 2023 at 2:16
  • 1
    @user2225190 - if your name is still on the lease, the landlord can and will come to you when/if the other person stops paying rent. Or for damages when they move out.
    – WPNSGuy
    Commented May 3, 2023 at 21:40

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