My Wife and I are Separated and my Name is on our Rental Contract, How do I Remove it?

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“My wife and I are renting a house from my mother-in-law. As of right now, my wife and I are separated (not legally, however). My wife’s name and my name are both on the contract. I’ve asked my mother-in-law to take my name off the contract since I’m not living there anymore. Also, I’ve tried to give a 30 day notice as well, but to no avail. Does she have a right to keep my name on the contract even though I’m not living there anymore? Our rent is $900.00 and I’ve been paying half of that since November of last year. Also, she said she would remove my name only if I get a divorce. Can she do that? Thank you for taking the time to read this.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

P.S. We live in California.”

It depends on the terms of the contract. If you have a lease for a stated period of time (6 months, 1 year, etc.), then you’re probably stuck until that time runs out. You generally don’t have the right to break a lease unless the landlord breaches the contract first. However, once the stated time period runs out, your obligation to pay rent ends, too.

If you have a month-to-month rental agreement, however, then you can terminate it by giving 30 days’ notice, as you did. The owner doesn’t have the option to not accept the notice, and your obligation to pay rent ends at the end of the 30 days.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.