Movin' on up and out
May 21, 2012 4:26 PM   Subscribe

Moving out of my apartment and I have a few questions on how to handle the last month of rent and the security deposit.

I currently live in Philadelphia with two roommates. I’m moving out at the end of June and one of them is moving out at the same time. The other one is interested in staying at our current place.

I’ve never been in a situation before where a current roommate stays behind so I’m not sure how to handle the last month of rent as well as the security deposit. I am going to call our landlord soon but I want to have an idea of what to expect before I make that call. I checked out the lease but there isn’t any information about what happens when it is terminated (besides the fact that it converts to month-to-month and we need to give the landlord 30 days notice).

We paid first month, last month, and a security deposit equal to one month when we moved in. In my mind, the last month of rent is already covered for myself and for the roommate that is moving out so we will not have to pay for June since it is our “last month”. If this is the case then I’m not sure where this leaves the roommate that is staying. Is he responsible for all of the rent or only his third?

Similar situation with the security deposit. I’m assuming it is the responsibility of the roommate that is staying to reimburse us but I’m not clear on how that would work.

(This is all assuming that the landlord is open to drawing up a new lease with that roommate. If this isn’t the case then that makes all of this a bit easier to figure out.)

Again, I do plan on talking to my landlord in the next few days but I’d like to have some information before that happens. It is also entirely possible that I’m overthinking this. Thanks!
posted by Diskeater to Human Relations (5 answers total)
Do NOT let your landlord put your 3rd roommate in the position of paying your security deposit back to you.

Why would your 3rd roommate be responsible for the entire last months rent if your last month's portion is being applied to your last month??

You have a poor grasp of the rental business. This IS a business transaction. The landlord is contractually obligated to provide housing and services to you in exchange for the rent you've paid.

- 3rd roommate needs to find out if he can stay on at the apartment. Does he have replacement roommates? Then the landlord needs to execute a new lease with either 3rd roommate if he stays on alone, or 3rd roommate + his new roommates.

- You and 2nd roommate need to provide landlord with written thirty days notice, do a walk-thru with him to insure you get your security deposit back.

- You and 2nd roommate remind landlord in your written thirty day notice that you expect your last month's rent already paid to him be applied to your portions of the final month, as per your lease agreement.

That's it. Your lease with landlord is ending. He must follow the lease, as do you, and this includes formalities of ending tenancy. Whatever else happens is between 3rd roommate and landlord.
posted by jbenben at 4:43 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

I live in a pretty big apartment complex in Virginia, and this is my exact situation, down to the last month of rent.

My apartment requires 60 days notice of intent to not renew the lease, so I let them know at the end of April that two of us wouldn't be staying.

This next part was new to me: I had NEVER heard of this before, but my roomate who is moving out, the roomate who is staying, and myself had to sign a letter stating who was staying/leaving AND GET IT NOTORIZED. I think it was just a form for my apartment office, though, and is probably uncommon.

Just wanted to state that if you are in a big apartment complex, they might have specific forms/procedures that differ from if you rent from an individual landlord. Either way, I'd suggest looking in your lease to see if there is any mention of notice of non-renewal or something like that, and call your landlord/stop by your apartment office and put your intent of who is leaving/staying in writing! jbenben's advice is perfect.
posted by shortyJBot at 6:14 PM on May 21, 2012

Are you sure there is nothing in the lease about how the security deposit is refunded? Usually, you must provide a forwarding address and the landlord must send you the deposit (or justify why they are keeping some for damages) within a certain number of days. If it's not specified in the lease, your state's landlord-tenant law should specify what is required.

The last place I lived, my roommate was staying on and the landlord tried to tell me that I should just get the new roommate to pay her deposit directly to me. When I dropped off my key, I left my address and cheerfully reminded them that as the law specifies, I would need my deposit within 30 days. They sent it to me.
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:31 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your last months' rent that you've prepaid covers your last month's rent. That doesn't involve your roommate who is staying.

You have to give your landlord not just "30 days' notice" -- this is often very confusing - but 30 days' notice prior to the beginning of a new rental period. In other words, if you plan to move out July 1, you need to give your notice before June 1. If you don't give notice until June 2, you're actually obligated to pay all of July's rent because there are now less than 30 days before the beginning of the next rental period.

Your landlord has to release the security directly to you and, as others have said, has a certain number of days to do it. Please Google the name of your state and "tenants' rights" or "tenant law," because there is almost surely a handy guide to how all this works already made. You'll find things like this and may want to check versions from a few different agencies. I don't know about PA, but in my statluae you're also actually entitled to the interest earned on your deposits while the landlord held them in a bank.

Arrangements between the person who is staying and the landlord are totally up to the two of them - you don't need to, and probably shouldn't, get involved. As others have said, don't agree to any shell games amongst you. Work through the landlord only.

Good luck and enjoy your new place.
posted by Miko at 6:50 PM on May 21, 2012

Your landlord needs to understand that there are two transactions happening here.

The termination of the lease and the refund of the security deposit to all parties on lease #1.

If staying roommate wants to stay, he/she needs to sign a new lease and pay a new deposit.

NONE of this, next roommate paying me my security crap.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:41 PM on May 22, 2012

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