DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I currently live with another couple in a home that we rent. We have been here for 15 months. While being quarantined the past three months, we’ve had a lot of overlap with the other couple. We have issues with our home; we contacted the landlord about them, but he didn’t do much to fix or help with the issues during the quarantine.
Now my boyfriend and I have decided to get our own place because we are tired of the home not being up to our standards, and we have just outgrown the space with the other couple. The problem is, we just renewed our lease three months ago. I’m hopeful that the landlord will take the two of us off the lease if the other couple remains, but how do we approach the conversation with the other couple that we plan on leaving and sticking them with the lease on their own? I don’t want them to feel like we are abandoning them. -- No Stepping on Toes
DEAR NO STEPPING ON TOES: You should speak directly with the other couple and let them know where you stand. In order to get out of the lease, you have to get them to agree, get someone else to take over your part of the lease (with the landlord’s blessing) or get the landlord to agree to remove you from the lease. This is a legal matter.
You may want to speak to the landlord first to explain your situation, review your concerns about the state of your home and ask to be taken off the lease. You will likely need an attorney to help you work through the paperwork. Coordinating with your co-renters may help ease the burden on all -- if they are willing to take over the lease or have others in mind who may want to split the rent.