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Signing a lease with your partner is a big commitment and a big step forward. If you are married then it only makes sense that you will sign the lease together. However, if you are not quite there yet and still only dating and recently living together, then this is a huge step. You need to be prepared for this type of commitment before signing the lease as you will be legally responsible for your part of the rent for as long as the lease is in place, even if your relationship falls apart before then.

Knowing what will happen to your relationship six months down the road is tricky. Everything may be perfect right now but as time goes on things could fall apart. This happens all the time, even in the most stable of relationships. Landlords know this which is one of the reasons they are often hesitate to rent to couples, especially those that have only been together for a short period of time. A property manager is taking a big leap of faith by allowing you to sign a lease with a partner and you cannot let him down, even if your relationship doesn't withstand this pressure.

Relationship and Leases

What this means is that you are still responsible for paying the rent, even if you and your partner break up and one of you moves out. You will need to discuss the details with your partner. In most cases, if one of you moves out, then the other one will need to continue paying the rent. However, if this is not possible, then, even if you don't live there, you are still legally required to pay your share. If you pay $400 per month and your partner pays $400 per month as well, you still need to pay this amount unless your ex partner agrees to pay it all for you.

It may make sense to rent out the apartment to someone else so that they can take on your portion of the lease and the rent each month. This, however, is normally not allowed. Most leases will have a no subletting clause which means you cannot let someone else live there and pay the rent without permission from your landlord or property manager.

So what are you supposed to do? The best thing to do is to talk to your landlord about what has happened. Be honest and up front about it. Explain that the relationship has ended and that you or your partner will be moving out.

Your landlord may allow you to break the lease beforehand. He may allow you to move out and for your ex partner to sign a new lease with just her or he may allow you to sublet your space for the duration of the lease. Or, he may say tough luck and make you continue to pay the rent. This all depends on the type of landlord you are working with.

Signing a lease with your partner means that you are not only committing to live in this place for a certain period of time, usually one year, but that you are also committing to your partner for this amount of time as well. If you and your partner do break up before the lease is up, you need to work this out as amicably as possible. Be adults about it and talk about what will work for the both of you. Even though you are no longer together, you still share a responsibility and thus will be tied to one another until the lease is up.

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