How to Move out If Your Roommate Won’t Let You

  • See if you can sublet your space to someone else
  • If you are subletting from a tenant, then you have a right to give 30 days notice and leave
  • Contact landlord about breaking the lease
  • A roommate is doing something illegal, bankruptcy, and other reasons make it easy to break the lease

Room sharing is not new to us – times are tough, and most of us have shared an apartment with someone at one point in their lives. I have lived with different roommates when I was in college.

Some roommates turn out to be great – cooperative, helpful, and buddies for life! On the contrary, some can be really a pain in the a$$. Have you been through hell by having to put up with an awful roommate? Well, keep calm…I’ve been there! Thank God, I successfully moved out.

Looking to move out, and your roommate won’t let you? Don’t worry; we got you covered. By the time we are done, you will have all the information you need to part ways with your annoying roommate. 


How to Get Out of a Lease

lease agreement

Your roommate might not buy the idea of you moving out – in some instances; he won’t let you out! How then can you get back your much-needed semblance of domestic bliss?

What happens when you can’t take it anymore, and your relationship with your roommate breaks down completely?

Here are the answers to get the job done.

Possible Scenarios When Moving Out

There are many situations you can find yourself in when you are trying to move out. Here are our top SIX. When:


1.    How to Move out When You Are the Only One On the Lease

To help you understand this scenario better, let’s take an instance where you want out, and on the other side, your roommate wants to stay. The biggest problem, in this case, is how to take out your name from the lease.

These are the best possible ways to maneuver.

One way is by asking your landlord to change the lease in question. However, it is worth noting that it is at the discretion of the landlord.

There’s another risky way to go about this – subletting the apartment/room. Why is this risky? Remember subletting your space doesn’t get you out of the lease…you are still the one responsible for the apartment/space.  

The best way is to have your landlord change the lease. However, if the landlord won’t change the lease, due to some reasons, (and of course, you can’t stay with your roommate), then you can go for subletting.


2.    You Want to See Your Roommate Step Out, and You Are the Only One On the Lease

In our second scenario, your roommate is not in the lease, but you are.

That means that you have the power to kick them out. How then can you evict a roommate that is not on a lease?

The fact that they are your roommate, it means that you permitted them probably in an informal arrangement, say verbally. If this is the case, you can service your roommate with a written notice giving them 30 days to move out.

If your roommate won’t move out, the next option is to take legal action. You can talk to a lawyer and acquire an eviction notice or even take them to court. It is worth noting that litigation takes time and might be costly – by the time you are done with the case, probably your lease is almost over if not over. It’s better to settle these matters outside the court.

If you had a written agreement when you brought them in, then you must revisit the agreement. What are the guidelines for breaking the lease as per the contract?

An proper agreement should have a provision of what happens in the event when you can’t stay together anymore:

  • How long should you give your roommate?
  • Who’s responsible for seeking a roommate replacement? Etc., etc.

If the agreement doesn’t have such clauses, things become even more complicated – evicting your roommate gets trickier.

The bottom line, as the person on the lease, you still got the upper hand.


3.    You and Your Roommate Are On the Lease

When both you and your roommate are on the lease, and you intend to move out, talk to your landlord. You can work out a way to take off your name from the lease. There are two ways into this, you can:

  • Look for a replacement and let that person sublease your space
  • Search for a replacement and assign them your lease portion

You must involve the landlord in both scenarios. A sublease means that you have the intention of coming back to your space later on, whereas a lease assignment means that you won’t be coming back.

Either way, you are responsible for your replacement unless you talk to the landlord and sign an agreement that states otherwise. What does responsibility, in this case, imply? If they fail to pay rent, you take care of that. If they are involved in mischief within the premises, you are liable.  

What happens when both of you want to move out? In the same way, you can discuss with your landlord about a possible lease assignment or a sublease.

It is also possible to break the lease entirely and I talk about that below – it all narrows down to the landlord.


4.    You Are Subletting from a Roommate

What happens when the tables turn, and you are the one subletting from a roommate?

In this case, you don’t have any rights to the space in question. You are a month-to-month tenant. This means that your roommate can throw you out with appropriate notice unless you signed a roommate agreement that stated otherwise when you were subleasing.

When you are subletting, and you want out, it’s usually easy peasy.

Give your roommate a written notice of at least 30 days. It is also prudent that you notify the landlord and the person you are subletting from, that you will be moving out. After that, you are free to leave.


5. There Are Different Roommates On the Lease, And You Have a Problem with Only One Roommate

In this scenario also you must involve the landlord. You must also acquire the consent of the other roommates.

When breaking a lease, the more the roommates involved, the more complicated things get.

Pro Tip: Whenever you are dealing with multiple roommates, ensure that you draft an agreement that accommodates you in case things don’t work out. It will be easier this way when breaking a lease.


5.   Your Roommate Is Up to Some Illegal Businesses

If your roommate indulges in illegal practices, the first step is to report to the police. Illicit such behavior could be:

  • Sexual assault
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug dealing
  • Any other lawbreaking act

Then it will be easy to break the lease the legal way.


Breaking A Lease: What Options Do You Have?

breaking lease

A joint lease involves two or more roommates. So what are your options when you are moving out before the contract expires? Can you break the lease? Let’s find out.

Here are some of the best steps you can follow when you want to break a lease.


·       Talk to Your Landlord

You can’t force the landlord to take out your name from a lease agreement before the lease has expired. It’s a binding contract – you can only negotiate. Talk to your landlord and explain to him your situation.

The landlord may choose to remove you from the lease without even paying a penny! They can also have you pay part of the penalty before removing you from the lease agreement. It’s all up to them.

Pro Tip: Maintain a healthy relationship with your landlord…you never know when you might need them!


·       Involve Your Roommate

When you were moving in together, you signed a lease with your roommate. That means they are still aparty in the entire contract, and you can’t move out without leaving them holding the bag.

Ask your roommate if he/she can agree to added responsibility or a new lease without your name.


·       Find A New Tenant

If you can’t strike a deal with your roommate and the landlord, the other option is to find another roommate to sublet from you. You can also talk to your landlord to draft a new lease between the new tenant and your ex-roommate. This way, your name will be automatically out of the picture.


·       Seek Legal Advice

You can also talk to an attorney and look at the options that you have according to the law. If you can prove any dangerous or illegal behavior by your roommate, you have the upper hand. You can also highlight that your apartment has become inhabitable, and your landlord has been ignoring your requests to fix the issues.

The law allows you to break a lease without paying the lease amount if:

  • You are called on military mission/duty
  • You have been declared bankrupt
  • There’s a constructive eviction (this varies from state to state)
  • There’s a natural disaster


·       Pay Off the Penalty

This is the last nail on the coffin. If you fail to agree on all the above, just pay the penalty for breaking the lease, clear your name, and walk away.


 Making Sure in Future, Your Roommate Will Always Let You Move Out

agreeing together

Whenever you get a roommate, two things might happen:

  • Things fail to work out, and you probably fall out, or
  • You  move on well and live happily ever…

It’s never a guarantee that things will fall in place. However, take your sweet time to get to know your roommate. Check out their financials, such as their debts, income, credit, and assets.

The other important thing is to ensure that you sign a written roommate agreement that has clearly outlined an exit strategy.

No matter how well you know your roommate, make sure you sign an agreement. You never know when things might go south.

With a signed agreement, they will always let you move out.

Writer: Shem M

writer shem m