Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-30-2003, 02:48 AM
Cyberhwk Cyberhwk is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 3,363
Consequences of Being Evicted

Just to nip the 'jurisdiction' question in the bud, I live in Washington State and we can skip past the 'ask a lawyer' suggestions too. Anyway.
Well...the subject says it all. I have about $400 in unpaid rent (of which they have said they will not begin eviction proceedings over (long story). In short I agreed to a lease through June 15th, 2004, so I doubt them letting me out of it totally free is going to happen. For reasons it's looking like I might not want to live there (abusive roommate). I feel bad getting someone ELSE to put up with him, but I don't know what to do.

What would the consequences most likely be if I were to just stop paying rent? If I were to sign ANOTHER lease before the eviction proceedings could they anoll the second lease eventhough it's already been signed?
Old 07-30-2003, 01:51 PM
MLS MLS is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 7,841
IANAL, but I would advise you not to simply stop paying rent. Why not explain to the landlord what the situation is, and ask them to let you out of the lease? Example: If you let them know now that you want to leave, they can begin advertising for a new tenant. When they find one, they will probably not care whether you break the lease or not.

I don't understand your final question. Do you mean you want to sign another lease with the same landlord? I presume you mean "annul," but it's not clear to me what the issue is. If you mean that you want to sign a new lease with a different landlord, the fact that LandlordOne wants you out doesn't AFAIK prevent you from renting from someone else. Heck, you could presumably rent 10 apartments at the same time if you wanted to; I can't think of a law that would prevent that.

Eviction is a legal procedure that has specific rules and ramifications locally. I know you said you don't want to be told to consult a lawyer, but that's what you should do.

When you go to try & get another lease, and your prospective landlord asks for a reference, having been evicted would not enhance your record.
Old 07-30-2003, 02:19 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 39,105
Simply not paying is generally a bad thing to do unless you are on firm legal ground. In this case, it would seem that the landlord holds all the cards in that you have signed a contract wherein you agree to pay him. I agree with MLS that you should just come clean with the landlord and see if you can reach an agreement. Most states I've been in will sympathize with the landlord in a case nonpayment or in a case of a tenant skipping out on a lease.

Another downside of doing things less than honorably is that some landlords will ask for references from previous landords, which will limit your options for future rentals. Stiffing your current landlord for eleven month's rent will surely land you in civil court and may affect your financial report.

My personal experience with this was similar and I simply went to my landlord and explained the problems I was having and she let me out of the lease with one month's payment. You have nothing to lose by being up front and sincere.
Old 07-30-2003, 03:32 PM
Cyberhwk Cyberhwk is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 3,363
Thanks for the advice so far. One big piece of information I failed to mention is that I'm a co-holder of the lease. My two other roommates are on the lease too. Two of us want to go and get the hell away from him, the other one wants to stay.

I can tell you from personal experience that they DO NOT just 'let you out' of the lease around here. MY $400 outstanding debt is because they decided to no longer hold my OLD roommate (yes, it's quite the soap opera) responsible and instead stuck US with her rent. Why? Cause it was just easier to screw their tenents than go to court, but I digress.

MLS: What I mean by 'anul' is this: If I go sign a lease with another landlord and THEN get in legal trouble with this one, can the new landlord go and say "Well, since you've been evicted you have to leave," eventhough a new lease has already been signed?

Getting another roommate to move in and take over the rent is the SOP, but just being the guy that I am, I feel bad sticking ANYONE with this idiot.
Old 07-30-2003, 03:59 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 22,624
I don't get it. Your landlord does not want to evict you, even though you owe him $400; one of your roommates is an ass; and the proposed solution is to stop paying your landlord?

IANAL, but my understanding of leases is that each party is jointly and severably liable for the payments, meaning that if rent is not being paid, the landlord has the option of going after all three of you, or any one he chooses. If you're the one not paying, I think you're opening yourself up for a lot more than you may be bargaining for.

I think your best shot is to talk to your landlord with your good roommate, and perhaps some accomodation can be made to kick out the bad one, or at least find an acceptable way to end the contract altogether. I just can't see how playing hide the ball will get up ahead in this situation.
Old 07-30-2003, 04:20 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 34,557
If you are REALLY "evited", that is seved with an "unlawful detainer"- then you are in trouble. Your credit history will show this, and it will be very hard to rent again.

If you are simply "evicted"- that is you semi-voluntarily move out after getting a notice that they WILL evict you with an "unlawful detainer"- then other than not getting a good reference from your old landord, you're OK.

Once you sign another lease with another set of lessors- then it would be very hard for the landlords to break it- however I still suggest to avoid getting an "unlawful detainer"- that could be a reason to break a lease.

You can likely get out of your current lease with a settlement, or you can send them a 30 day notice that you are moving out and won't pay any future rent. If so- they CAN sue you for the "unpaid rent"- but only if they can't rent it out to anyone else. However, this suit would NOT be an "unlawful detainer", just a civil suit. IANAL but in your case, the Judge could be sympathetic to your situation. You could also countersue the "bad" roommate. If you're not living there, the current landlords will likely go after the 'bad roomate" for all the rent- and HE will have to be the one to scamble to find new roomies. BUT- be sure to notify them you are moving out and no longer responsible. Find some section of your lease that mentions "intolerable living conditions" or something like that, and quote that as your reason for "breaking the lease".

Ravenmans suggestion to try to get the bad roommate out is a nice one, but I doubt if it will work. However, worth a try. When you do so, give them your 30 day notice, along with your other "good" roomates. This will help convince them.
Old 07-30-2003, 04:48 PM
BMalion BMalion is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 9,708
Well, I'm not in your state but I am a landlord.

Really, we're not all demons, call him/her up and explain carefully and honestly what the situation is. It's not cheap to evict someone and most of us would rather avoid it if we could, it's really a pain.

Plus, in most states you are legally obligated to pay the rent. If you have a dispute with your landlord (not your roomate) then you should deposit the rent money in an escrow account with the clerk of the court. They hold it until the landlord/tenant matter can be cleared up.

Sounds to me that you have a roomate prblem that you're trying to mix up with your landlord.

My advice? Move out, send a registered letter to your landlord asking him to remove your name from the lease. Follow it up with a phone call and see if that helps. If you have an abusive room mate get out now and sort it out later.
Old 07-31-2003, 02:25 AM
Cyberhwk Cyberhwk is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 3,363
My old landlord will not let me out of the lease without the third roommate's premission, this has already been established. And the third roommate isn't going to let us out if he's going to have to pay $800 a month in rent.
Old 07-31-2003, 02:49 AM
Doomtrain Doomtrain is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: "Oh, Sir Walter, Really!"
Posts: 6,497
You can't get out of the lease at all? The lease for our apartment (GA, for the record) CAN be broken. Now, it requires paying all kinds of fees and giving all kinds of notice, but it can be done.
"Sir, we'd like permission to search your pie."--Captain Stottlemeyer, Monk
Playing City of Heroes? Find the Dopers you know and love here. In one of life's great ironies, we play on Virtue.
GMRyujin is now known as Doomtrain. Now with 30% more doom. Doom! DOOM!
Old 07-31-2003, 11:56 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 34,557
Then mail your 30 day notice (certified), and walk, being sure you pay your rent up to that time- and mention some clause in the lease agreement that allows you do do so ("intolerable living conditions", for example). He can sue you for the rest- IF he doesn't collect it, and he MUST try to collect it. Meanwhile, go find another apartment.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:44 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017