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I have two roommates, both of whom are moving out this month, though our lease is up at the end of July. We split the rent/utilities three ways, and Roommate A, without being asked, told me he'd continue paying his share of rent/gas/electric/internet. I appreciated this and think it's fair, since his absence doesn't change, for example, how much electricity the refrigerator uses, or the cost of heating/cooling the house, etc. Roommate B, on the other hand, hasn't made this same offer (I actually haven't seen him for the past couple of days, and only heard about his plans to move out this month from Roommate A).

I would like Roommate B to continue making the same payments as Roommate A so that I don't get stuck paying 2/3 of the bill, but I'm worried that he wont see it the same way as Roommate A. How should I broach the subject with him?

Clarifications:

  • We are on the same lease. We each separately pay rent to our landlord and utilities directly to the utility companies. The utilities are in my name, so they pay me and I pay the companies.
  • My understanding, until I get official word from Roommate B, is that he plans on moving out without getting out of the lease or subletting, meaning that until the lease ends there will be no way to rent out the room to another person
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IANAL

We are on the same lease. We each separately pay rent to our landlord and utilities directly to the utility companies. The utilities are in my name, so they pay me and I pay the companies.

The utilities being in your name is not really relevant to whether they're responsible for them.

What matters is whether they're on the lease or not.

My understanding, until I get official word from Roommate B, is that he plans on moving out without getting out of the lease or subletting, meaning that until the lease ends there will be no way to rent out the room to another person

My understanding of this is that as Roommate B won't be removed from the lease by their own choice, they are still legally a tenant and obliged to pay both rent and utilities.

Roommate B should (as an obligation) give notice to the landlord of intent to leave early and comes to an arrangement with the landlord about rent and you and the other tenant (also leaving) about the utilities.

They have a contractual obligation called a lease would be the bottom line here.

Roommate A is being quite sensible about this. Roommate B is trying to bail on their responsibilities (or doesn't understand them).

What to do.

You and A need to sit down with B and discuss these matters.

As A told you B was planning to leave, ask A to email or text B (to keep a record) confirming whether they're staying or going and if they're going to say when.

B will either contact you all and tell you all properly or not. If they contact you you can explain that in view of the time left on the lease you and A reasonably expect them to cover the utilities until a replacement can be arranged or the lease end.

You (or the landlord more strictly) would normally be expected (legally) to make a reasonable effort to find replacement tenants. But you can't do that unless B tells you and the landlord formally that they're leaving.

If B just wants to bail (and forget you, A, the landlord and the bills) then to a certain extent you can't do much about this. You could in theory pursue this to small claims but that's rarely practical. Ever see Judge Judy. :-)

From personal experience I would suggest you say a big thanks to A and hope for something but expect nothing from B and plan for that.

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This can be a little tricky, and it really depends on how Roommate B behaves.

If they're the more easy going type, you could use the following:

Hey, Roommate B, I know you're moving out in a month, but I was wondering, would you'd be able to continue paying for utilities, since your lease doesn't end until July? I'd appreciate it, because otherwise, I would be stuck with the bill.

If they tend to keep to themselves, or they're more uptight, you'll have to be a little more cautious, especially since money is a sensitive topic.

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    It may help to point out that for 2-1/2 months, you are responsible for the utilities and have no way to sublease the space. – David Schwartz May 11 '18 at 20:42
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Assuming you have no legal leverage (or leverage of any kind really), I think the best you can do here is to try and create empathy for yourself.

Paint a picture for your roommate of how his decision will impact your life and the financial burden it will put on you and force him to put himself in your shoes, as it's likely he simply hasn't considered this.

You'll want to avoid being accusatory or putting him on the defensive, as this can backfire and give him a way out (eg he can tell himself you're being unreasonable or treating him unfairly).

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