Legal advice for breaking lease in NYC?
March 16, 2012 4:05 PM   Subscribe

Legal advice for breaking lease in NYC?

I know this question on the surface has been asked many times; my situation is different and confusing for me to figure out just by common sense.

I live in Brooklyn, and I have 9 months left on my lease. I just looked at my lease, and I signed it with my landlord. I live with a roommate, and I pay him every month and he gives it to the landlord. My landlord is Chinese, but he speaks only Cantonese (I speak some Mandarin but mostly English)...thus, my Cantonese-speaking roommate is the liason. I live in the same apt as my roommate, but he's not on the lease.

I'm about to accept a job in another state, that's why I have to leave. My roommate says that I have to find another roommate, which is fine.

Here is the roommate says that he prefers...

1. To live with another Asian, and that's the landlord's preference too
2. To quote him: "Absolutely no black people." Apparently also the landlord's preference.

That's racist and discriminatory and illegal, right?! And also, unfair to me...? I could find 10 suitable roommates, but my roommate could turn them down just because he's got all these issues. My roommate is intimidating me into paying the rest of the lease.

He also says that if a replacement pays less than what my monthly rent is, I would have to pay the difference upfront for all of the months left (9 months).

Can any give me some legal advice? I'm scared and I feel like my roommate's race issues are really unreasonable. If posting pictures of the lease helps, let me know and I can provide a link to a flicker account or something.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
posted by skybluesky to Law & Government (2 answers total)
If your roommate is not on the lease, then IMO he shouldn't get to stay there after you leave unless he signs a new lease (or goes month to month with your landlord). In either case—I would think this would supersede your responsibility to pay.

I think that MoonOrb is right but I might take it a step farther... realistically, I don't think your landlord is going to come after you for the balance. He sounds a bit over his head even with the basic legal concepts regarding being a landlord, and not about to go negotiate housing court. But who knows.

As an aside, you ask for legal advice in your question, you should note that anything you get here will emphatically not be legal advice and you shouldn't rely on it as such....
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 10:39 AM on March 17, 2012

I agree that your roommate's race requirements are unreasonable from a human (not necessarily legal) perspective. What do you mean your roommate is "intimidating" you?

Anyway, I can't give you legal advice, but I recommend looking into some kind of local legal assistance program.
posted by J. Wilson at 12:12 PM on March 17, 2012

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