Should a landlord give separate leases to roommate tenants is the question this week for Ask Landlord Hank. Remember Hank is not an attorney and is not offering legal advice. If you have a question for him please fill out his form below.
Dear Landlord Hank,
I have a tenant who is unhappy with their roommate, whom they choose. The tenant is asking to sign separate leases so they would not be held responsible for damages or unpaid rent by the other. Is that a thing now? Is it legal in Washington?
Dear Landlady Deb,
Roommates on a lease are a tricky situation that often goes bad.
If your current tenant requested someone new to be added to the lease as a new tenant (hopefully you did credit and background screening), then she is still fully responsible for the lease, as is the roommate.
If someone violates the lease, then you could and probably should evict both.
You’ll need to check the laws in your state though. Do NOT give each person their own lease. That would make each tenant responsible for only half the rent and if one leaves or breaks the lease, you’d have to replace that tenant.
Each week I answer questions from landlords and property managers across the country in my “Dear Landlord Hank” blog in the digital magazine Rental Housing Journal. https://rentalhousingjournal.com/asklandlordhank/
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