Submitting 30-Day-Notice on Apartment
December 1, 2008 3:14 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to end my tenancy in a month-to-month lease in Los Angeles, but the landlord says that submitting a 30-day-notice won't absolve me of any future responsibility if my roommate stays in the apartment. Please hope me!

I would like to get out of my current lease by giving my landlord a written thirty days notice, which is what's required by law in California. However, my roommate would like to stay in the apartment so the management company is telling me that the notice would essentially be meaningless unless he is leaving as well.

I spoke with my roommate and he doesn't think he'll be able (due to laziness or whatever) to find a new roommate for January 1st, so I am trying to protect myself by having myself removed from the lease, which is what I understood the law to mean. I am already paying rent on two apartments (the current one and the new one) so I don't want to do that again in January in the event that he doesn't find another suitable roommate.

So my question is this - is there any way to force a removal of myself from liability unilaterally? Is this a situation where my roommate has to "turn his key" at the same time, as they saying goes. I just want to be done with the apartment and not be responsible for the rent after December 31st. It seems crazy that I cannot just give notice and be done with it.

I called the LA housing authority people and the guy I spoke with wasn't very helpful. This is time sensitive since today is the 1st of the month and any advice or input would be greatly appreciated. If anyone has any follow-up questions, you can email me at

posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total)
What does the lease say?
posted by R_Nebblesworth at 3:44 PM on December 1, 2008

Whoops, should have read the question all the way to the end, sorry.
posted by R_Nebblesworth at 3:44 PM on December 1, 2008

Can you put up the terms of the lease? Did you both sign a joint lease?
posted by letahl at 3:46 PM on December 1, 2008

Give notice. Tell your roomie that you are unwilling to on the lease, and roomie will have to sign a new lease. Way too many stories on AskMe about people getting stuck with bills or bad credit in this exact situation.
posted by theora55 at 3:47 PM on December 1, 2008

You could contact your local tenant advocacy group. Possibly listed here.
posted by nat at 3:53 PM on December 1, 2008

Since you're the one who is trying to get out of the lease, it's your responsibility, not your roommate's, to find a new rent-paying tenant to replace you. Post an ad on craigslist and sign them up.
posted by BobbyVan at 6:08 PM on December 1, 2008

Since today is the 1st, I would give 30 days notice regardless of whether you find out if that is valid. It cannot hurt to give notice, but it could hurt to not give notice. I would then find out from one of the advocacy groups what your options are. I am not a lawyer (but my mother wishes I were) but it seems to me plausible that if you give notice then both you and your roommate are out unless he works out a deal with the landlord. Also, prior to signing a second lease, I would have found out this answer. Good luck.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:41 PM on December 1, 2008

It cannot hurt to give notice

This is not true. If you give notice and then the tenancy is not vacated on time, you might be liable for damages and possibly penalties in addition to the rent. This depends on your lease and your jurisdiction, of course.
posted by grouse at 7:32 PM on December 1, 2008

You're asking your landlord to alter the rental agreement without the consent of your roommate. Yeah, they're not going to do this.

How this should go down, IMHO, is you both agree to end the agreement and then your roommate signs a new one where only he is responsible. Problems with this: he might not meet their employment requirement; they might increase the rent; or they might not want to rent to just one person.

IANAL, however, so maybe there is another way.
posted by sbutler at 7:55 PM on December 1, 2008

IANAL (former real estate agent) but tenant law in California is VERY pro-landlord. Even then, unless you are living in a rooming house, landlords are rarely in the business of renting part of an apartment.

Your management company is correct. Unless you are both vacating the unit, your notice is meaningless. It's not their problem if you leave, someone is still responsible - and that someone would be you, since you signed the document - for timely payment of ALL of the rent monies due.

You don't say whether the roommate is on the lease, but even if they were, you entered into the agreement jointly and severally and you can't just back out now.
Your choices are:
1) Both of you agree to leave
2) You find a roommate that your roommate is amenable to sharing the apartment with, AND that passes whatever requirements your landlord has set forth for tenants.

If you give notice and you do not find a SUITABLE replacement, you are legally still on the hook for next month's rent, 30 day notice or no. Month-to-month is still a legally binding rental agreement.
posted by micawber at 8:11 PM on December 1, 2008

Been through this myself. You need to find a roommate, pronto. It's your responsibility to find one, not your roommate's. Talk to your management company and tell them that it's your intent to find a replacement roommate. Keep them in the loop... get the application paperwork from them and have it on hand for anyone interested to complete. There's what the law says and there's what a landlord can do to help you if they see you are genuinely trying. They aren't going to just waive your rent or your responsibilities, but you might be amazed at what a friendly property manager can do to help you.

Craigslist is a godsend for this, but your local university or medical centre might be able to help if you're looking for professionals. I did this twice in different parts of West LA, once as a student and once as a professional, and was in both cases able to find a solid replacement roommate in less than a week using the Daily Bruin & the UCLA housing offices.

Sorry if this is just me rambling on with things you already know, but it might still bear saying. If they decide to amend the lease (write you off the lease and write someone on), you need to make sure you have a copy of all that paperwork. And that you need a your deposit back within that 21 day legal window. Either your replacement roommate writes you a cheque for your half of the deposit or the management company does, but getting your money back helps draw a legal line under the situation. They can't take anything out for cleaning or wear and tear, btw, unless you were clearly responsible for the damage. It might have changed from my day, but it you've been there for three years or longer, reasonable wear and tear means that they can't charge you for touch up painting or a new carpet (as you can reasonably expect to change carpets after that length of time).
posted by Grrlscout at 4:11 AM on December 2, 2008

if you are on the lease can't you just say:
"I'm Out" and cancel the existing Agreement - which woudl mean you will BOTH need to get out of the place.

If your roommate wants to stay its up to them to sort out a new agreement with the Landlord.
and if you give your room-mate enough notice - then its their problem if they don't find a new tenant?
posted by mary8nne at 4:52 AM on December 2, 2008

« Older Mom has uncontrollable spending habits. What can...   |   Holy GSM, help me find the cheapest cellphone for... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.