When Roommates Attack: How Can I Get Out Of My "Lease Break" Fee?

Reader Steve’s little sister has a problem. She keeps getting attacked by her roommate. She called the police and now there are charges against the roommate. The psycho roommate’s parents say that they will only pay the “lease break” fee if she finds a way to get the charges against the roommate dropped.

Does anyone know what Steve’s little sister should do?

My little sister is at college and recently came across a strange situation. Her roommate (and once friend) has physically attacked her, unprovoked, twice. The second time, the police were called and said roommate was arrested. According to the judge, conditions of her bail require her to not verbally or physically threaten my sister. However, they’re still roommates and she has access to the apartment.

My sister, wanting none of this mess (her life in college is complicated enough, aren’t they all at that age?) requested to break her lease from the landlord. He could have cared less about the situation and wants his lease break fee. Understandable, but not very compassionate and lame. The roommate’s parents worked out an agreement with my sister to pay her lease break fee if she agreed to drop the charges. She is more than happy to do this, but unfortunately, the charges are the state vs. her roommate, so she doesn’t have a say. I have suggested explaining the compromise to the prosecutors, but want to know what choices she might have if they do not agree to drop it.

The parents will not pay her break fee unless the charges are dropped. Is there some sort of law/civil case that she can force the roommate to pay these fees regardless of the outcome of the case because her roommate has created this hostile environment? I’ve been googling roommate law and the like and have come up empty. It seems a murky area and I was hoping the Consumerist could shed some light on the situation. Otherwise I’m going to have to go to jail for kicking the girl’s butt myself (definitely kidding, although it gives me great hope karma is real).



We’d call the housing department of whatever city your little sister lives in and ask them for advice on this matter. You might also want to talk to a lawyer.

Any other ideas?


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