But I WANT to sign the lease!
June 11, 2007 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Can my new landlord leave me off the lease?

I'm moving into a new apartment soon. The two people who currently live there (roommate A and B) have been in the apartment for two years. The first year they cosigned a year long lease, and since then they have been month to month.

Now roommate B is moving away and I am moving in. They checked this with the rental agency, to see if we'd have to do an application/credit check for me. The rental agency said no, that they would make roommate A the sole tenant, and I would be a subletter from her. So they don't need to check any background on me, but basically I would have no rights to the place. If roommate A decides to move, I would have to move as well, or be subject to any kind of rent increase they wish to impose.

I want to be on the lease, both for the stability of rent control in the event that roommate A decides to leave, and also for reasons of building good credit. Do I have the right to insist on getting my name on the lease? Roommate A agrees that it would be best for us both to be on it. If I am to bring this up with the rental agency, should I do it before moving in, or a few months down the road, once they see that I'm a good tenant, pay rent on time, etc? We are in California.

Any advice much appreciated.
posted by purplefiber to Law & Government (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you OK with them doing the credit check on you? If so, I'd ask them to draw up a new lease, but it may be another yearly lease, instead of month to month.
posted by Liosliath at 12:12 PM on June 11, 2007

I'm fine with having a credit check, and I'm fine with having a year long lease. But do I have the right to insist on this?
posted by purplefiber at 12:18 PM on June 11, 2007

IANAL, but I don't believe you have the "right" to request it, but there wouldn't be much reason for them to refuse it. Have they shown reluctance to make a new lease, or the whole subletting thing is just the first option they threw out there?
posted by Liosliath at 12:23 PM on June 11, 2007

I think they are reluctant to make a new lease because then they can't jack up the rent on me if roommate A moves out. Subletting was their suggestion, but I haven't spoken directly with them, and so I don't know how adamantly against the lease they are.
posted by purplefiber at 12:36 PM on June 11, 2007

Well, yeah, they'd probably prefer for you to sublet, because they know they have someone on the hook for a lease already, so their end is covered - they're just being lazy because they don't want the hassle (paperwork etc...) of drawing up a new lease, running the check, etc...

I'd go talk to them directly.

Personally, I'd ask for a new lease from Day 1, not a few months in - just to keep things clear in case something comes up later on.
posted by Liosliath at 12:48 PM on June 11, 2007

Purplefiber, if you live in San Francisco (as shown in your profile) it's not true that you "have no rights to the place." If it's your principal residence, you have the same rights that any tenant would have on a month-to-month agreement. If you get your mail there and have your posessions there, it's your home. Once you have lived there for a month, you have rent control and you have eviction protection. Your roommate, though he/she originally signed a lease, is now a month-to-month tenant as well.

Take a look at the sites for the San Francisco Rent Board and the San Francisco Tenant's Union.
posted by wryly at 5:55 PM on June 11, 2007

I didn't mean that pf would have no tenant rights as a sublessee, just that I wasn't sure if they could demand to have a new lease drawn up.
posted by Liosliath at 6:34 PM on June 11, 2007

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