Welcome to the Kazi Law Firm! We are a boutique law firm steeped in Texas tradition personifying the warmth and congeniality consistent with southern hospitality. We believe in preserving integrity and professionalism with true Texan charm, staying true to our roots, while providing essential, affordable legal services to all. Located just north of Dallas, Texas in the rapidly growing suburb of Frisco; the Kazi Law Firm concentrates on contracts drafting and review, immigration law, will & estates, real estate law, landlord, tenant, mediation, and general business law needs.
Sharing a house or apartment with a friend can be fun and help reduce the cost of housing. However, I recommend that you choose your roommate carefully and separate the “friend” from the “co-tenant” aspect. Friends don’t always turn out to be the most reliable or fiscally responsible people to enter into a lease agreement with. The prospect of living with your best friend sounds appealing but remember this is a business transaction and your Landlord won’t take too keenly to late or missed rent payments.
As far as the Landlord is concerned, the people that signed the lease are the tenants. Therefore, you both are responsible for paying the rent on time and maintaining the property for the duration of the lease agreement, despite any ups and downs in your friendship. Your personal relationship has no bearing on your Landlord’s expectation for timely rent payments.
Often one roommate has trouble paying the rent, and this is where disputes arise. The Landlord is not interested in how the rent is divided; the Landlord is only interested in the full monthly rent being paid. If one roommate pays and the other does not or moves out (abandons the property), the Landlord will want the rest of the rent and he/she will not care where it comes from. Remember, if you signed the lease, you are responsible for paying the full amount to the Landlord, even if you paid your share already. If the Landlord does not receive all the money, then he/she can terminate, evict, and possibly take other legal actions against both co-tenants.
Choose your roommates carefully. If your roommate moves out early or cannot pay the rent, you’ll be responsible for the entire amount, unless you’ve rented on a ‘per-bedroom’ basis.Texas Apartment Association (TAA)
If you’ll be sharing the rent with a roommate, make sure you both understand your responsibilities. If you both sign the lease, each of you will be responsible for the full amount of the rent if the other does not pay. If you need to find another roommate to help with expenses, your new roommate will need to be approved by the property owner in writing and in advance of making a commitment. Remember that you may need to sign a new lease or a lease addendum, as necessary.
Additionally, if you and your roommate have a disagreement, your Landlord cannot and will not lockout, evict, or remove your roommate for you. Police typically consider such a dispute a “civil matter” and will not get involved. A tenant can request that the Landlord change the locks at the tenant’s expense; however, the Landlord will have to give the new key to any other tenant on the lease.
If you have problems with a roommate, negotiate as much as possible and put any deals you reach in writing. If you move out abruptly and prematurely with your name still on the lease, the Landlord may report you to the major credit bureaus and harm your credit. You also may be liable for damages that occur in the unit. You could ask your Landlord for an early release, but granting this request is strictly at the Landlord’s discretion. You also might try to find a roommate to take your place, but make sure your old roommate and the Landlord both consent and allow the replacement resident. Also, be sure to have your name removed from the lease if the replacement roommate is permitted.
Remember one more crucial aspect of a joint living situation – the security deposit. What happens to the deposit when you move out? Unless it is specifically spelled out in the lease differently, any money that is returned is owned jointly by both tenants. Any other situation would likely have to be worked out between you and your roommate. The Landlord is not going to get involved in internal disputes or rifts between you and your roommate or best friend.
As you may have inferred, choose your roommate wisely and carefully to avoid problems in the long run. There is nothing worse than a living situation gone bad where money and credit scores are at risk.
I built my law practice on the premise of being a life raft in a sea of sharks. I want to be an advocate for those that have been wronged and are too intimidated to seek help. My firm is here to explore your options, guide you through your legal journey, and give you that safe space to ask questions! There’s no such thing as a stupid question…Only the ones you don’t ask. So, my question to my clients is not “do you have any questions?” But rather “what questions do you have?”
As always, the Kazi Law Firm is standing by to help you in your time of need. Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We specialize in real estate law, landlord-tenant disputes, immigration, and wills & estate planning. Family is at the core of our practice. Just as we treat our family with respect and understanding, we treat yours. Come join the Kazi Law Firm family today!
Why swim alone in shark-infested waters when you don’t need to?