Credit Advice

College student facing eviction when roommate violates lease


Have a question?

Do you have a question about consumer credit? You may find an immediate answer by using the search engine. If you can't find what you're looking for, please fill out the form, being as specific as possible.

Please note: The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team will include it in a future column.

Our policies
The information contained in this column if for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult your own attorney or seek specific advice from a legal professional regarding your particular situation.

Please understand that Experian policies change over time. Column responses reflect Experian policy at the time of writing. While maintained for your information, archived responses may not reflect current Experian policy.

Credit Advice

College student facing eviction when roommate violates lease

Dear Experian,

My daughter – a college student – may be evicted from her apartment due to her roommate violating the lease. If this happens how will it affect my daughter, and will she have any recourse?


Dear JAG,

It sounds like your daughter has found herself in a situation all too common for college students. She has a joint lease agreement and the roommate is bailing out, leaving your daughter responsible for the entire lease amount, which she cannot afford.

Based on your question, I am assuming that your daughter has a joint lease contract with the apartment complex, with her roommate being the joint lease holder. That agreement almost certainly states that your daughter and her roommate are equally responsible for the lease payments. If one of them doesn’t pay, the other is bound by contract to pay the entire amount.

If that is the case, there is probably little recourse for your daughter. The lease itself will not appear on your daughter’s credit report, but the apartment manager could turn over any unpaid lease payments and fees to a collection agency. The collection account then would appear on your daughter’s credit report.

Alternatively, the apartment complex also could sue for any outstanding lease payments, usually through a small claims court. The court judgment then would appear on your daughter’s credit report.

Collection accounts and civil judgments both are considered quite negative.

More often I hear of similar situations with utility bills: gas, electricity, telephone, water, cable television. However, the same applies to the apartment lease.

When one roommate leaves, the other is left holding the bill. Unpaid utility bills are sent to collection agencies and subsequently are added to credit reports.

To minimize any impact, your daughter should try to work with the apartment manager regarding the lease. Perhaps she can get a new roommate who can assist with the lease payments before any action is taken that could negatively impact her credit report.

She also needs to consider her utility agreements. If they are joint with her roommate, your daughter needs to contact the utility companies to revise those agreements if possible and have her name removed from them.

Thanks for asking.

- The "Ask Experian" team

  • © 2016 Experian Information Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.