When Can You Evict Your Own Roommate?
Sometimes rent costs too much for one person, and other times you don’t want to live on your own quite yet. No matter the reason for choosing to live with a roommate, sometimes they become too hard to handle. So what do you do when your roommate won’t pay his/her fair share for the month, or simply makes your living environment unbearable? Can you kick them out – or will you have to leave it to the landlord? Here are some instances where you may be able to evict a poor roommate.
When They're Not Paying Rent
Evicting a roommate who does not pay rent is clear-cut if the terms are correctly spelled out in the lease. However, eviction becomes more difficult if the lease does not break down the rent payment among the tenants, leaving both to be jointly responsible. If you pay your half, but your roommate does not, you may both get evicted since the full payment was not made. To prevent this issue from occurring, legal experts recommend asking the landlord to give separate leases to each tenant so each person is responsible for their own determined amount. If your roommate does not pay according to their lease, you will likely be able to negotiate with the landlord regarding their eviction.
When They're On the Lease
Taking care of a roommate eviction is easy if they are partaking in illegal behavior, such as drugs, violence, or threats. In these instances, you can file a police report and restraining order, which results in removing them from the lease. However, if your roommate is simply annoying, it is much more difficult to evict them. Keep note of complaints and potential lease violations and bring them to the landlord’s attention. While you likely can’t kick someone out for not doing their dishes, you may be able to evict someone if their significant other or family member is practically living at the unit rent-free.
When They're On the Sublease
If you are the primary leaseholder and want to accept someone as a roommate, it is a good idea to ask if you can draft the sublease with the landlord. By doing this, you can establish the parameters you want, including a security deposit, whether pets are allowed, how many guests allowed and for how long, what alterations they can make, fees for late payments, and utility fees. You should also make sure you can terminate the sublease and evict your roommate by taking the same steps your landlord would during the eviction process. Once the sublease has been drafted, have a lawyer look over it and get it notarized.
When They're Not On a Lease
Trying to evict a roommate that is not on a lease may be the most difficult situation of the three, since you cannot simply kick them out and change the locks. Anyone who moves into an apartment acquires homestead rights, meaning if your roommate goes to the police, they can help him/her regain access to their living quarters. Instead, you will need to enlist the help of the landlord to conduct an eviction, since you don’t have the rights of a property owner to evict tenants.
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