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Hi
My son is about to sign a lease agreement to rent a town house near UCLA . He is going to share it with four other  kids whom he doesn't know. I have 2 questions related to lease agreement which the owner wants to sign.
1. Owner of town house is saying if any of them for whatever reason walks away or unable to pay the rent  during the lease period then other kids has to pick his share equally until the expiry of lease period.
2.If there is a fine by association or cops for a party ,all the tenants has to equally  divide the amount of fine regardless who is at fault. 
My question is are this standard terms of the agreement? The owner of the townhouse screens the tenants and he decides who to rent who not to . How he can held other kids liable for someone else rent ?
PLEASE ADVISE AND THANK IN ADVANCE 

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If the LL isn't asking for guarantors for each and every college student, they shouldn't be renting to college students.... (more)

btuttle (Aug. 08, 2017 @ 11:51p) |

I don't recall needing parents to cosign any lease we had during college....including an apartment and 2 houses.

At leas... (more)

rascott (Aug. 09, 2017 @ 3:07p) |

This is Westwood, it's a little pricier of a neighborhood, so this kind of lease agreement is common.

forbin4040 (Aug. 09, 2017 @ 4:44p) |

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I had two different kids renting at various Ohio schools, and your term #1 was perfectly standard here... "individually and severally liable for payment of rent", though the agreements allowed for a replacement tenant in case of that kind of default, too. I don't recall any terms like #2 relating to civil fines but all damage was also individually and severally liable to all tenants, as well. So same deal, really.

Additionally, in all cases the standard terms were that each student tenant's parent (or fiscal equivalent) was also a signatory to the lease, and likewise liable. Maybe the students in CA have better credit ratings...

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Yes, this is normal for college housing. In fact, I personally had an approximate $900 debt on my credit report for 7 years after one of my roommates moved out and didn't fulfill his rent obligation. I didn't fulfill it either and let it go to said collections. They never came after me or my other roommates other than selling to collections. This was 15 years ago.

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bhofw said:    your term #1 was perfectly standard here... "individually and severally liable for payment of rent", 
  What OP is describing is not joint and several liability. It's something the owner came up with that he thinks is fair and easy to implement.

I don't like these kinds of leases , especially if the other roommates are people your son doesn't know. It's just asking for trouble. Why don't you just rent a studio or one bedroom? Or better, since freshman, just live in dorm.

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I honestly don't know whats normal for college towns.

But to me it doesn't sound right if the landlord is taking separate individual applications and then holding strangers accountable for each other financially and criminally.

In the dorm I wasn't responsible for my roommates rent.
When I got an apartment I picked my own roommates.

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Nebraska requires ALL freshmen to live in the dorms ... even those who now live with their parents and could continue to do so in Lincoln where the college is located.

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I think ruffles is right, it's not quite joint & several liability, which I think would be very standard and effectively not much different. This clause actually sounds like it gives each tenant a more limited liability.

With simple joint & several liability, each tenant is individually responsible for the ENTIRE rent. Until it's paid - it doesn't allow for collecting multiple times. It does make the tenants interdependent and in theory, it's not the landlord's problem if any one of them doesn't come up with "his share". He's not renting five separate rooms, he's renting one place for five people who have chosen to get together on one lease. The landlord would be able to pursue whichever tenant(s) he likes to collect rent.

But this wording sounds like each remaining tenant would only be liable for 25% of the deadbeat's rent. Still not cool, but I don't expect you'll do better elsewhere.

The fact that this is not straight joint & several liability seems like a bit of a red flag that this may be a new and ignorant landlord (not including it at all would be worse). That would make me a little wary - I'd rather deal with someone who understands the laws & obligations well. A newbie landlord might work in your favor, but could also lead to big hassles.

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rufflesinc said:    What OP is describing is not joint and several liability. It's something the owner came up with that he thinks is fair and easy to implement.
 

  
The way OP worded it, you're right. But I'm guessing the actual contract is more along the lines of a typical "individually and severally liable" clause.


jerosen said:   But to me it doesn't sound right if the landlord is taking separate individual applications and then holding strangers accountable for each other financially and criminally.
 

  
This. It makes sense if a group of friends are applying for an apartment, not for someone just renting a room in an apartment.

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GSTAd said:   1. Owner of town house is saying if any of them for whatever reason walks away or unable to pay the rent  during the lease period then other kids has to pick his share equally until the expiry of lease period.
 

Please post the exact language of the lease.
It is quite likely that each roommate is individually and severally responsible for the total rent (not just their portion of the rent). Such type of language is not uncommon when you have multiple signers on the lease. This applies even when all roommates are staying the house but say one of them is a deadbeat and does not come up with their portion of the rent.  What "Owner of town house is saying" is not exactly that but a "simplified" way to explain it to you.

In practice, the LL would likely try to collect their portion of the rent from each tenant, each month. However, if something were to go wrong and it comes to filing a legal claim, I am sure the LL would use the rights under the lease to pursue each tenant for the unpaid rent (so that at least one of them pays and LL is made whole).

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Can he find a smaller apartment or get a couple roommates together that your son vets, not the landlord? It's true that you wouldn't want your son to be liable if one of his roommates doesn't pay, but more important than having to cover other's costs is finding good roommates. Putting 5 freshman into an apartment, none of which know each other (or is your son the only one that doesn't know the others), sounds like it could result in a bigger problem than financial liability for rent. Of course, everything could be fine, but that's a lot of people to force to mesh with each other, especially when it's unlikely most have experience handling bills.

Not sure if you're familiar with the area, but parking at UCLA is a HUGE pain. You need to win the lottery to get parking spots, etc. Make sure this place is close.

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All I can say with 4 unknown Roommates. (5 People total)

You will end up with :

1 Captian Commando
1 Kitchen Grazer
1 Kleptomanic
1 Normal Roommate
1 All your base belong to me. (The guy who leaves their stuff everywhere)

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That's crazy. Liable for the roommates that the landlord selected? No way would I agree to that. What happens when 2 roommates move out? Now you're liable for 33% of 2 rents plus your own rent? If a third leaves, now you get 50% of 3 rents plus yours...

As long as the landlord has one responsible lessee, he's got a great chance of collecting full rent, even if the other four roommates he selected are deadbeats.

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cherry3m said:   That's crazy. Liable for the roommates that the landlord selected? No way would I agree to that. What happens when 2 roommates move out? Now you're liable for 33% of 2 rents plus your own rent? If a third leaves, now you get 50% of 3 rents plus yours...

As long as the landlord has one responsible lessee, he's got a great chance of collecting full rent, even if the other four roommates he selected are deadbeats.

 Any landlord knows when you rent to random people, someone will bail.  So he wants to get paid.
He's renting the house and the 5 people are sharing the cost.  If one leaves, then the landlord expects the remaining 4 to share the cost or get a 5th real fast.
Since this is a college town, the only available '5ths' mid semester are people who were kicked out of other buildings.  Fun fun.

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Four other roommates who you don't know = four potential deadbeats. You will either need to pay more for a studio, find parents you know and trust to sign a lease together, or have your child live in college housing.

I'm not a landlord, but if I were one I would probably insist on this clause too. No landlord wants to get stuck with an empty spot and he's got the leverage in LA.

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Wow! I just agreed 100% with Ruffles. I better take a nap...

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RUN.

This could get very expensive. A 5br Townhouse near UCLA depending could be 5-9k a month + utils.

Best get a cheap studio near UCLA for 1.2-2k a month.

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gremln007 said:   Wow! I just agreed 100% with Ruffles. I better take a nap...
  not with ruffles I suppose

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Too bad this isn't Boston, one of the roommates could've been Gauss44

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cherry3m said:   That's crazy. Liable for the roommates that the landlord selected? No way would I agree to that. What happens when 2 roommates move out? Now you're liable for 33% of 2 rents plus your own rent? If a third leaves, now you get 50% of 3 rents plus yours...

As long as the landlord has one responsible lessee, he's got a great chance of collecting full rent, even if the other four roommates he selected are deadbeats.

  This brings up a good point... where did these 4 unknowns come from? Is the landlord running a rooming house here, but still expecting that the rent is split no matter how many people?

 

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Don't students usually present themselves to a landlord as a group, even if it's a group of 2 or 3 with the remaining roommates to be named later, who the group later recruits?  That's the only reason a landlord holds them all accountable for the full rent, because they come to him and sign the lease as a group.

On the other hand, a landlord using financial criteria to place roommates probably gives you a better quality tenant than housemates recruited by fellow students, especially freshmen who don't really know anyone else yet.  Of course, the landlord also has no incentive to pursue a deadbeat, since the others will pick up the tab for him.

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Yeah, it's unclear what the exact situation is. If the son found 4 other guys and presented themselves to the landlord, then yes, I'd expect the landlord to have them sign one lease and they'd all be responsible for the total amount of the rent. On the other hand if he's renting rooms out individually then I'd expect a separate lease for each individual. This wouldn't work in Boston anyway, you're not supposed to have more than 3 people living together who aren't related so that means a max of 4 people. And obviously if the first is true then the 2nd would also be true. Standard response from a tenant that doesn't like those terms, find another place.

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Will OP come back to the thread and provide details asked for?

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fwuser12 said:   Will OP come back to the thread and provide details asked for?
  Member since 2012. 6 total posts.

OP will probably come back, just not as GSTAd.

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Thanks everyone for your answers.
As requested i am posting exact language from the lease.
Following words are used in para number 1 of lease and towards the end of the lease.
1.This Lease creates joint and several liability in the case of multiple
residents

27. SEVERABILITY
The unenforceability of any provision or provisions of this lease shall not affect the enforceability
of any other provision or provisions.
28. JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY
If this lease is signed on behalf of resident by more than one person, then the liability of the per-
sons so signing shall be joint and several.
 

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GSTAd said:   Thanks everyone for your answers.
As requested i am posting exact language from the lease.
Following words are used in para number 1 of lease and towards the end of the lease.
1.This Lease creates joint and several liability in the case of multiple
residents

27. SEVERABILITY
The unenforceability of any provision or provisions of this lease shall not affect the enforceability
of any other provision or provisions.
28. JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY
If this lease is signed on behalf of resident by more than one person, then the liability of the per-
sons so signing shall be joint and several.

  Your son/you will be responsible for the entire rent, should any of the roommates dont pay their share (regardless of whether they reside or decide to move out mid-term). LL doesnt have to try to collect from the other roommates before come after you/your son for the full rent.

Are these a bunch of college friends/acquaintances that have decided to rent a place together? Or is the LL finding them individually? In short, did the LL pick the other roommates or did they collectively approach the LL?

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GSTAd said:   Thanks everyone for your answers.
As requested i am posting exact language from the lease.
Following words are used in para number 1 of lease and towards the end of the lease.
1.This Lease creates joint and several liability in the case of multiple
residents

27. SEVERABILITY
The unenforceability of any provision or provisions of this lease shall not affect the enforceability
of any other provision or provisions.
28. JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY
If this lease is signed on behalf of resident by more than one person, then the liability of the per-
sons so signing shall be joint and several.

  Is the lease for the entire apartment or just one room?  That language could mean if more than one person signs the lease for a room, then those signers are joint and severally liable for that room's rent, not the entire house.

it would be unusual to have unrelated parties sign one document for the entire apartment.  

Unless expressly written in your lease, the other leases for other rooms are separate from your lease.

IANAL

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And one more thing, the joint and several liability clause does not mean the others pick up the non-payers liability equally. It means all signers on the lease are individually liable for the entire lease. The others could simply choose not to pay, and they wouldn't even have to move out or be evicted, all parties become liable for the non-payers.

oops.  Just read fwuser12's reply.  What he said.

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fwuser12 said:   
GSTAd said:   Thanks everyone for your answers.
As requested i am posting exact language from the lease.
Following words are used in para number 1 of lease and towards the end of the lease.
1.This Lease creates joint and several liability in the case of multiple
residents

27. SEVERABILITY
The unenforceability of any provision or provisions of this lease shall not affect the enforceability
of any other provision or provisions.
28. JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY
If this lease is signed on behalf of resident by more than one person, then the liability of the per-
sons so signing shall be joint and several.

  Your son/you will be responsible for the entire rent, should any of the roommates dont pay their share (regardless of whether they reside or decide to move out mid-term). LL doesnt have to try to collect from the other roommates before come after you/your son for the full rent.

Are these a bunch of college friends/acquaintances that have decided to rent a place together? Or is the LL finding them individually? In short, did the LL pick the other roommates or did they collectively approach the LL?

  Not so fast - are all 5 new roommates signing this lease, or is each roommate signing their own lease?  Because those terms only apply to anyone signing that particular lease.  If each person signs their own lease, that lease amount is all they'll be liable for regardless of what any other co-habitants do.  If OP signs a lease for $1k/month, and the other 4 each sign separate leases for $1k/month, the most OP will be responsible for will be $1k/month.

OP - did the landlord actually tell you this, or is this your conclusion based on the lease language?

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Glitch99 said:   Not so fast - are all 5 new roommates signing this lease, or is each roommate signing their own lease?  Because those terms only apply to anyone signing that particular lease.  If each person signs their own lease, that lease amount is all they'll be liable for regardless of what any other co-habitants do.  If OP signs a lease for $1k/month, and the other 4 each sign separate leases for $1k/month, the most OP will be responsible for will be $1k/month.

OP - did the landlord actually tell you this, or is this your conclusion based on the lease language?
 

But if each roommate signs a separate lease, the OP's liability is inconsistent with what LL said to OP.
GSTAd said:   1. Owner of town house is saying if any of them for whatever reason walks away or unable to pay the rent  during the lease period then other kids has to pick his share equally until the expiry of lease period.
 

   More clarification from OP would help.

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They are all college kids. They are not aquaintance /friends of my son. He found one of them from a college face book page now the other 3 guys knows this face book guy or they each approached individually to the facebook guy or LL picked ,I don't know. The guy who posted on face book is renewing his lease. So he stayed there last year too. 

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 this lease is for entire townhome. All 5 are signing on one single lease

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GSTAd said:   They are all college kids. They are not aquaintance /friends of my son. He found one of them from a college face book page now the other 3 guys knows this face book guy or they each approached individually to the facebook guy or LL picked ,I don't know. The guy who posted on face book is renewing his lease. So he stayed there last year too. 
  Now you are changing your story.  You first said the landlord is putting together these 5 students.  Now you're saying your son responded to some other kid's ad looking for roommates.  Even though your son doesn't really "know" any of them, he's still choosing them as roommates.  Yes, all 5 will be responsible for the total lease, and yes the landlord will hold everyone responsible if he doesn't get the full amount each month.   No, the landlord doesn't particularly care who's part of this group (beyond a basic screening) or who is supposed to pay what, that's between the 5 in the group.  And yes, this is perfectly normal.

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I concur with Glitch99-

Now that OP has clarified that all tenants are signing 1 lease, and that the tenants organized together to lease from the LL, the lease terms are 100% normal and enforceable. LL is renting the home as a single entity - not really caring how many people are responsible, as long as they all qualify (credit, income/assets, background, etc). LL expects tenants as a whole to pay 100% of the rent monthly, and 100% of any fines/penalties levied against the property.

OP - you may want to suggest a Roommate Agreement amongst the roommates (yes, similar to as in Big Bang Theory).  It's important that people who are new to having roommates, and especially people who don't know each other, have some sort of documentation about responsibilities that are not covered by LL's lease Agreement. Keep in mind the Roommate Agreement will only be between the tenants, and not bind the LL to it's terms (i.e. if Roommate Agreement says that any roommate who moves out remains solely responsible for their portion until a new tenant moves in, the LL could give a damn and will still want 100% of his rent from the remaining tenants even if the moved out roommate fails to pay). But, it gives the tenants a framework of responsibility and it's a little more clear how they can sue each other if it comes down to it. It can also help to spell out each person's rent and utility portion ($ or %), security deposit responsibilities (each party responsible for 100% of damages to their bedroom and 1/5 responsible for damages to the common areas), and even behavior expectations (no parties unless >50% of roommates agree, no overnight guests more than 3 nights per week per person, etc).

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Awaiting the followup in 3 1/2 months. Kids landlord suing me for 11k.

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zapjb said:   Awaiting the followup in 3 1/2 months. Kids landlord suing me for 11k.
  OP didn't say they are cosigning

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rufflesinc said:   
zapjb said:   Awaiting the followup in 3 1/2 months. Kids landlord suing me for 11k.
  OP didn't say they are cosigning

 
OP also misinterpreted the joint and several liability portion, so just because they didn't mention they are cosigning doesn't mean they aren't actually cosigning... If LL is smart then odds are he is requesting parental co-signing due to lack of credit and/or income of the students.  Either that or maximum security deposit as permitted by law (generally 2x the rental amount in CA, as long as it's not furnished and tenants don't have water-filled furniture*).

* just wanted to throw in the little trivia about a higher security deposit allowed for water filled furniture as I think it's hilarious

 

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civ2k1 said:   OP - you may want to suggest a Roommate Agreement amongst the roommates (yes, similar to as in Big Bang Theory).  
  Would a "roommate agreement" be subject to landlord-tenant protections?

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marginoferror said:   
civ2k1 said:   OP - you may want to suggest a Roommate Agreement amongst the roommates (yes, similar to as in Big Bang Theory).  
  Would a "roommate agreement" be subject to landlord-tenant protections?

  
Probably not. It's just a contract between two people and doesn't involve the landlord so I can hardly see where landlord tenant law comes into play. Then you just sue in small claims to enforce the contract. Maybe have an arbitration clause in there to keep it out of the courts.... But that's getting pretty complex. 

Skipping 4 Messages...
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This is Westwood, it's a little pricier of a neighborhood, so this kind of lease agreement is common.

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