Can You Get An Apartment If Your Name Is On Another Lease?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

If you are in the middle of a breakup, one of the first things that you might want to do is move out of the apartment you shared with your ex. Or, you might just want a second home. It’s cool. The hard part is finding a new place to live while your name is on the lease. Let’s talk about what it takes to get a second apartment and the decision to break your lease.

You can usually get a second apartment as long as your landlord has reason to believe that you can afford it. If you have a bad credit score, a bad income, or a history of evictions, then you may not be able to qualify for it.

Apartment rentals are a little tough to navigate at times. It’s important to talk about it and make sure that you have a good understanding of what this may mean for you.

Is It Legal To Get Another Apartment If You’re Already On A Lease?

Legally speaking, there is nothing stopping you from leasing more than one apartment. There are no laws on a national or state level that would prevent you from doing so. However, that doesn’t mean that a landlord will want to rent to you.

Why Would Landlords Bar Secondary Leases?

Getting a second apartment alongside the first is going to be harder just because of the nature of it. Most landlords want people to live in their apartments full-time and feel like multi-renting is a bad idea. Here’s why many landlords have an issue with it:

  • They may have a concern about your ability to pay both leases on time. This is the number one reason why a landlord might say no to you. They will have very specific standards that you have to meet. If the total of your rents is more than 33 percent of your monthly income, you may be rejected.
  • Some apartments just have policies against multi-renting. This often happens when a renter neglects one apartment over the other, or rents an apartment to someone who destroys property. You can’t blame them for having this kind of policy out of fear for other residents or the property.
  • Many landlords also want someone to live in their apartment 24/7. Apartment occupation is a concern for landlords. They may want to encourage a community. If they feel you might be absent in all this, they might pass you up. Besides, having a person living constantly there makes it easier for them to report problems as it arrives.

Why Would A Landlord Who Allows Secondary Rentals Reject You?

If your landlord allows second leases but rejected you, it often has something to do with your application. Do you have enough money to afford both homes according to the financial minimums? Do you have evictions on your record? Or are you known for being a bad neighbor in town? Anything from felonies to finances can bar you from rentals.

It’s also worth noting that it might not be your fault. Sometimes, landlords will prioritize single-lease renters ahead of dual-lease renters. Or, it could be that the apartment ended up getting snapped up for a higher rent price. If this is the case, it’s nothing you did wrong.

Can Your First Apartment Kick You Out For Renting A Second Apartment At The Same Time?

When you sign a lease on the dotted line, there are certain protections that you receive for doing it—particularly with yearly leases. One of these benefits is that your landlord cannot legally evict you for renting a second apartment while you’re still on the lease. Unless your lease says “one apartment only,” you didn’t break the agreement that you have with your landlord.

A landlord cannot legally evict you for having a second apartment. However, they still reserve the right to refuse to renew your lease after your lease is done. If you feel they may do this, it may be time to prepare to move or at least have a candid conversation with them.

Why Would Someone Want To Lease Two Apartments At The Same Time?

There are several reasons why this happens, all of them equally valid. These are the most common ones:

  • The leases overlap and you want to move. Most landlords will be very amenable to this and will work with you to make sure you’re good to go. Since this is more of a temporary situation, there is a lot more leeway that landlords are willing to afford for this.
  • You are in the middle of a breakup or divorce. Did you have a falling out with your live-in partner? Yes, getting an apartment that you have for yourself is a good move. Most landlords will also break your lease in your prior apartment if a matter of domestic violence occurs.
  • You travel a lot and want to have two homes. If you spend almost half your time in another city, it’s normal to want to lease a place where you can rest reliably. This is usually done by people who have to attend work and conferences across the country.
  • Or, you are just rich. There is nothing wrong with wanting the luxury of having a pied-a-terre in another town. It’s kind of a flex in certain circles, especially if the apartment that you’re leasing as your second home is in a place like New York City or San Francisco.

Related Questions

Can you rent an apartment in one town while you stay in government housing?

While we’re sure that laws on this can vary from state to state, the general consensus is that this is not doable. Public or government housing is there to help prevent homelessness in people who are at serious risk of it. It’s meant to be there to keep housing affordable for the working poor.If you are found to be able to afford a second apartment while you’re paying for affordable housing, most programs can and will evict you from the property. In extreme cases, doing this can also cause you to get investigated for tax evasion or social service fraud.

Can being a cosigner on a lease get you turned away from an apartment?

Being a cosigner on an apartment is not something that will get you turned away immediately, or even by most apartment landlords. However, it is still considered to be a risk factor that may make a small percentage of them turn down your application.If the main tenant stops paying rent on the apartment that you cosign on, you will be held liable. This turns into an unexpected financial strain that could potentially push you out of the realm of affordability. Should this occur, you might end up skipping on paying rent.

How can you break a lease early?

In most cases, you will not be able to break a lease early unless the landlord actively decides to make an exception to the rule. However, there are certain situations where you have the legal right to break a lease early. If you are a victim of domestic abuse, then you have the legal right to leave your lease in most states. Just notify the landlord before you do.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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