Joint & Several Liability
When more than one tenant signs a lease for a particular residence, each tenant is responsible for all of the conditions of that lease. This is called joint and several liability.
If one person does not pay the rent, the other tenants are liable for payment of that person’s share or they are all subject to eviction for nonpayment of rent. It is up to the other tenants, not the landlord, to collect money from a nonpaying tenant. On the same note, if one tenant damages the premises, the landlord my deduct the damages from all the tenants’ deposits or may choose to deduct only from the tenant responsible for the damages.
For self-protection, joint tenants may execute a roommate agreement, which will outline tenants’ obligations to each other which may include, but are not limited to;
- Their portion of the rent
- Responsibility for damages
- Division of payment for utilities
- Duration of the rental period
- Responsibility for finding a replacement tenant upon early termination
- Payment of rent until a replacement is found
A roommate agreement is not binding on the landlord.