Your Roommate is Swell — Right?

Your roommate Melvin is a swell guy.

He cooks, does the dishes, shares your taste in music, sleeps like a rock, never competes with you for the shower, and always, always pays his share.

Then one day you find a note on the kitchen table: 'I'm so sorry. It had to be done.'

Melvin goes on to explain that he is the incarnation of a heavenly being and has decamped to South Asia to preach Zororastrianism.

Fair enough. But are you liable for his share of the rent?

If your name is on the lease, yes. When a roommate cuts and runs, everyone on the lease is liable for his expenses.

Certain landlords might be open to negotiation, but don't count on it. And Melvin is probably far beyond the reach of civil suits or collection agencies, both of which cost money.

A friendly reminder to know your roommates well, if possible — if not, check their references!