My roommate (also on the lease) recently gave me notice that she’ll be moving out soon. It caused a flurry of panic because I was unsure what would happen – if the landlord could raise the rent or if I would have to sign a new lease. The short answer is no. But after putting in a significant amount of time into researching this, as well as consulting a few smart lawyer friends in my life, I thought a post on this might be handy for people who come upon the same situation.
This applies mostly to California Landlord-Tenant Laws. Because you’re on the lease, the rent cannot be raised. You become the sole tenant on the lease and you’re allowed to find a roommate to replace the existing one on a one-for-one basis — even if your lease explicitly states no subletting allowed.
- San Francisco Rent Board: Topic No. 151: Subletting and Replacement of Roommates
- San Francisco Rent Board: Rules and Regulations Section 6.15
Contains 6.15A: Subletting and Assignment–Where Rental Agreement Includes an Absolute Prohibition Against Subletting and Assignment
Get in touch with your landlord to request permission to find a new roommate, it sounds like how the landlord handles it varies from place to place. In my case, they don’t allow subleasing, so I’m just getting a new roommate. They will not be on the lease and the landlord will only accept payment from me.
Once I find a roommate, they’re subject to the normal application process that the landlord/rental agency uses (financial records check, etc.). There will also be an amendment to my lease stating that I are the sole lessee and while the new roommate can live with me, they do not have the same rights that I do.
Other helpful resources: