Renting with roommates? Protect yourself

Rent it Right

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Q: I recently moved into an apartment with another roommate. We both signed a month-to-month rental agreement. On the second of January, I came home and found she had moved out, had not paid her portion of the rent, and had left her room totally trashed and painted weird colors. I've paid the full rent for January and I have found a replacement roommate who starts March 1. My question is: What can I sue my ex-roommate for? I spent a ton of time and some money repainting and repairing the bedroom. --Bethany L. A: Your and your ex-roommate were co-tenants, which means that the landlord could demand the full rent from either of you. How the two of you divide the rent is up to you, and careful co-tenants write down this understanding, along with other key issues involved in living together (Who pays the utilities? How long may guests stay?), in a roommate agreement, signed by both. An agreement should also address what the roommates will do if one wants or needs to leave -- so...