4 Legal Issues to Consider Before Moving In With Your Partner

When a relationship starts getting serious, people think about living together. For some couples, this happens after just a few months. Others might wait a year or more before deciding to move in together.

Often, especially for younger couples, this means moving into one person’s apartment or other rented home. Here are 4 legal issues you should consider:

1. Telling Your Landlord

Your lease may say that you have to tell your landlord if you want to add a roommate. It may even limit how many people can live in your unit. Even if it doesn’t specify any of these things, you should still tell them so that everyone is on the same page. You don’t want to give your landlord any reason to evict you or charge you some penalty for not revealing a change in occupancy.

You certainly don’t have to tell your landlord your relationship status with your partner. You can just call yourselves “roommates” and be done with it.

Most couples probably don’t bother telling their landlord, and think that the landlord probably won’t notice or find out anyway. They will. Go ahead and tell them so that you avoid problems later.

2. Will You Have to Pay More?

Probably. The landlord can increase the rent and usually the security deposit based on an additional person living in the apartment. Go ahead and pay it—it’s not worth it to hide the fact that you and your partner are now living together there.

3. Rights and Responsibilities of the New Person

If you move into your partner’s apartment, can the landlord make you pay rent or charge you for damaging property? Can you live there if your partner moves out?

No, unless you decide to become a cotenant. Let’s say Amy moves into Jannelle’s apartment, and Janelle tells that to her landlord. This could develop in four ways:

They don’t do anything else. The lease will still only be a contract between the landlord and Janelle, so the landlord can’t make Amy pay rent, and the landlord doesn’t owe Amy anything.

Amy and Janelle sign a new lease that makes them both cotenants. Now, they each have obligations to pay rent and other things and each have a right to live in the apartment.

Without signing a new lease, they tell the landlord that Amy is going to be a cotenant. Depending on state laws, this might create an oral contract that has the same effect as #2

Without signing a new lease or telling the landlord that she’s now a cotenant, Amy starts acting like one. She pays rent directly to the landlord. Also depending on state laws, this might create an implied contract, again having the same effect as #2.

4. Subtenants

Sometimes the person moving in will contribute to the rent, but will pay the money directly to his partner, not to the landlord. This is a subtenant relationship.

The key difference between being cotenants and one person being a subtenant is in who can legally kick someone out:

Cotenants: The landlord, but not the original tenant, can end the lease for either person.

Subtenant: The original tenant can legally tell the new person to move out.

A lot of couples like this relationship better at first. If the couple breaks up, the original tenant can legally tell his ex to move out. But watch out—your landlord may not let you do a sub-tenancy. If they don’t—and it’s what you want—it’s much better to find an apartment complex that will than to hide it from your landlord.

[Cross-posted at the Gay Law Report, where I discuss LGBT laws and related news.]


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—  admin

NYT: Obama DOJ’s stay cites Robert Gates desire to consider separate facilities for gays

Oh boy, here comes the influence of Robert Gates and Company again…floating as justification the spectre of separate barracks because of privacy issues and some kind of “religious objections” to working with the same gays and lesibians they are already working with now. (NYT):

Although President Obama and the Pentagon’s top leaders have all said they want the law repealed, the Justice Department on Thursday asked Judge Phillips to stay her injunction while it files an appeal.

As justification, the administration made overheated claims that a precipitous change in wartime would have adverse effects on morale, good order, discipline and unit cohesion. Those are the same specious arguments used to justify the benighted policy in the first place. The administration wants to leave it in place while it finishes a study on how to carry out a repeal.

Clifford Stanley, the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said in a court filing that ending the antigay policy would require training, and reworking regulations on issues like housing, benefits and standards of conduct. He said the Army had to consider the “rights and obligations of the chaplain corps.” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the military had to consider whether barracks should be segregated and whether partners of gay soldiers should have benefits.

This sounds disturbingly like the creation of a “separate but equal” system. The armed forces do not need to be protected from their gay and lesbian personnel. The military has always had its own culture and rules of behavior, but it has not been living in a cave.

Excuse me, who is Commander-in-Chief? And let’s wind the Blend clock back to July, when a harried Pentagon spokesbot Geoff Morrell said that reporters had it all wrong — separate facilities were not on the table

I guess it’s time to measure and order those shower curtains…

Igor Volsky @ Think Progress spoke with Department of Defense spokesperson Geoff Morrell, who probably had a knife at his back from the Pentagon brass to “clarify” his earlier statement that suggested segregated facilities might be one answer to handle straight service members with modesty issues.

In an interview with Morrell this afternoon, the Pentagon spokesman told the Wonk Room that his comments were twisted and taken out of context and vehemently denied that the Defense Department was considering segregating the troops. “So what I said, I used the term ‘facilities adjustments’ and I think people have gotten carried away as to what that could mean,” he began:

MORRELL: So, when I was asked, about the, you know – this is in the context of “why are you even asking these questions?” – well, we’re asking these questions because in our engagements with the force thus far, this has been an area of some concern. Now we need to test it to see if that holds for-if it really reflects the concerns of the force, and which members of the force. Is it older members? Is it younger members? Are they, you know-which ones? And, and then along with this information, the working group will make some recommendations about how to deal with those concerns. It could be, as I said, who knows? This could be dealt with through education programs, through training programs, or it may require “facilities adjustments.” But no one, no one is considering “separate but equal” bathing or living facilities for you know, gay and straight troops. That’s just not ever a consideration.

Q: So that’s off the table.

MORRELL: Absolutely off the table.

…MORRELL: Well we’re gonna have to figure out how we overcome that. Whether it’s through additional training or education or recruiting techniques – I can’t tell you what the working group may or may not come up with. This is not in any way intended for us to find potential landmines that would cause us not to proceed with a repeal, but rather is to edify us about the kinds of challenges associated with repeal that would need to be dealt with post-repeal. I guess what I don’t understand here is why you and some of these others who are writing on this issue can’t take what we say at face value.

Oh lord have mercy. Since Obama has taken office, all we’ve had from the Administration and the Pentagon is a delay and deny pantomime, from Robert Gibbs feigned ignorance at the podium, to letters from Sec Def Gates to Congress trying to stop votes on repeal until the report is completed. Yes, trust them.

So in desperation to restore DADT while this case is on appeal, this administration is throwing anything against the wall, including BS it previously said was “off the table.” Again, the hand of Gates is driving this show, and the boldness is epic in the face of prior statements of his own Pentagon PR machine.  
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—  John Wright