David asks… My daughter has a roommate who stopped paying her half of the rent. The management company keeps calling me. I co-signed for my daughter. Now the management company is starting eviction. What should I do?

This question was answered courtesy of the Real Estate Maven of Denver.

If you want to avoid having an eviction for non-payment on your credit and your daughter’s credit PAY THE RENT! Colorado landlords and management companies often have a “joint and several liability” cause.  This means each and every person comprising “Tenant” are each, together and separately, responsible for all of the Tenant’s obligations.  A very common mistake made by tenants in a roommate situation is they think they are only responsible for their “share” of the rent.  If the other roommates don’t pay that is not their worry.  This is wrong, wrong, wrong.

If a person signs a lease with other parties they are liable for  not only the non-payment of rent by roommates but for damage caused by the roommates as well.  Moreover, if you are a co-signing parent you are equally responsible.

Recently another friend asked about his daughter’s liability on a lease.  She and her boyfriend split.  She stopped by the management office to notify them she was moving and even paid the rent one month in advance. The property manager smiled, took the money and wished her well but did not give her anything in writing acknowledging the change in the lease.  Now the ex-boyfriend is not paying the rent, the management company is calling her and threatening eviction. “What can we do if ‘Prince Charming” won’t pay?” Dad asked.  Basically, if the lease has a “joint and several liability” clause you either have an eviction on your credit or continue paying the rent until the occupying party gives notice and moves.

Its an exciting time for a young person to get a first apartment.  The best help you can give is not by co-signing but helping your son or daughter read and understand the rights and obligations in the lease. Leases are legal documents and need to be understood completely before they are signed.

It is very advisable to have an attorney take a look at the lease before it is signed.  It might save a lot of wear and tear on your stress, your bank account and your credit rating.

Meet Cheryl!

About Cheryl

As a successful business owner and community leader, Cheryl Braunschweiger is known and respected for getting things done with a degree of skill and enthusiasm that bring out the best in those around her - colleagues, clients and friends. The name of her business, ALMC Mortgage, reflects Cheryl's philosophy and personality. She says it stands for All Loans Must Close –a reflection of her determination to do whatever it takes to serve her clients. Cheryl has been in the mortgage lending business for 20 years. Read More About Cheryl
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