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Issues to consider before signing a lease with roommates

Deciding to live with roommates can be a difficult decision to make. Many people in New York have to have a roommate to afford their apartment while others enjoy the extra company. Whatever the reason for having roommates, individuals need to be aware of the impact having mulitple roommates will have on their life.

Whether you have one roommate or multiple roommates, there are several issues to understand to keep yourself free from any issues involving the landlord or law enforcement. Landlords should also be aware of any potential legal issues when allowing multiple tenants to live in an apartment. 

People living with multiple roommates in New York should understand what will happen if one person moves out before the lease is up. Are roommates allowed to sublet their room and how much notice has to be given before moving out? Roommates should also agree on who will be responsible for paying the additional rent if one person moves out early. 

Roommates should discuss how rent will be paid each month, in addition to how other expenses like utility payments and even if groceries will be shared at all. It is important to set ground rules with all the roommates to make sure everyone knows what is expected of them, especially regarding when rent is due. 

Another issue that many roommates fail to think about is the potential criminal charges they could all face if one roommate is suspected of criminal activity. Roommates can be held liable for their roommate's criminal actions depending on the case so it is important to trust your roommates. 

It can be very benefical to consider and discuss these issues with potential roommates before signing a lease in New York. 

Source: FindLaw, "Multiple Roommates? 5 Common Legal Problems," Betty Wang, Aug. 29, 2013

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