Here's what happens when your roommate stops paying rent

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So your mom/dad/rich uncle Joe was nice enough to sign on as guarantor for the apartment you and your roommate share. Great. Until said roommate falls behind on her rent, that is. So how exactly will that affect your guarantor? And you? Read on:

  • Your guarantor will be liable for the full amount (which is why anyone becoming a guarantor needs to proceed with caution). "There are no two ways about that," says Charles Schoneau, the managing director of Insurent Lease Guaranty, an institutional guarantor solution and BrickUnderground sponsor.
  • Your landlord can bring you, your roommate, and your guarantor to housing court for non-payment, earning you and your roommate spots on the tenant blacklist. Your guarantor will then have to pay the landlord whatever he’s owed (plus legal fees) and your credit scores will take a hit.
  • Since all roommates are on the hook for the full amount, the landlord can sue you for the full rent if the other stops paying. You can’t say, “But I paid my share.”
  • While you have every right to take your roommate to Small Claims Court for her portion of the rent, if the roommate has no money, you won’t really get the results you want.
  • Talk to your roommate. If the financial situation is ongoing, see if she’d be willing to move out so you can replace her with a subletter who’ll actually pay rent.

For more, read “Reality Bites: My Roommate Stopped Paying Rent, and My Dad’s Our Guarantor. What Do I Do?” 

In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.


Signing On as a Guarantor? Protect Yourself!

No Guarantor? Don’t Panic (Yet)