Joint and Severally Liable- huh?
If I had a quarter for every time someone asked what is Joint and Severally liable?
Did you read the lease you signed? The first question the property manager is going to ask you.
We see this happen a lot with Roommates. So, my first plea: Please choose your roommates wisely. You are signing a contract together. For better or for worse.
In most leases there is a clause about joint and several liability. In layman terms this means no matter who does what, you are all equally responsible. For example:
If there is more than one Resident under this Agreement, each Resident is jointly and severally liable for all rental obligations. Violation of this Agreement by any Resident or Resident’s Related Parties is deemed a violation by all Residents. All demonstrations, inspections and explanations made by us to one of the Residents will be binding on all Residents as if made to each of them. Termination of that person’s right of occupancy will not release that person from any and all obligations under this Agreement or any renewal, unless we agree otherwise in writing.
- So, your roommate doesn’t pay rent- you are responsible.
- Your roommate gets a dog that damages the home- you are responsible.
- You decide to move out without getting properly released- you are still responsible.
- Your roommate moves in significant other without asking you- you are responsible.
- Your roommate forgot to pay utilities- you are responsible.
Here is a story
We had a group of roommates living in a home we managed. One of the roommates got into a physical altercation with a neighbor. All residents were served with a 3-day breach. Which basically means you did something wrong, fix it or move. They all moved. Because they are jointly and severally liable. When one breaks the rules, you may as well all have.
Bottom line, and typically a hard lesson to learn for more first-time renters: You are responsible. Don’t blame your property manager, don’t expect them to mediate roommate disputes and don’t be surprised when you are responsible.