Roommates

01.12.2019 | 2 Minute Read | By A.D. Thompson

Even the best of friends can fall to fighting when the quarters get too close. As such, sometimes, it’s best to part ways – amicably, if possible.

But sometimes things don’t go quite that smoothly. Fear not, though, there are reasonable steps one can take if you want to know how to evict a roommate.

Step 1: Try asking

Seems simple, but it’s the logical first step. If you’re this unhappy with the present living arrangement, it’s likely your roommate is, too. You may have already tried to work it out, but sometimes, it just won’t work. If this is the case for you and your roommate, then you need to start the conversation of parting ways.

Step 2: Determine the reason

What are the reasons you want to evict your roommate? Straightforward ones – like not paying rent or utilities – are easiest to navigate. Also, easy to sell – illegal activity or damage done to the premises for which your roommate is responsible.

Step 3: What’s your status?

Double check your lease to ascertain your status, noting whether you are co-tenants or whether you allowed your roommate to move in without the landlord’s permission. If that’s the case, this could make your situation more difficult. If you’re the one who isn’t on the lease, it’s you who should be on the hunt for a new place.

Step 4: Involve the landlord

Your landlord will have more sway if your roommate refuses to budge, particularly if terms of the lease have been violated. Your landlord definitely has the right to evict in these cases and could make your case that much easier.

Step 5: Formal notice

If you’ve asked your roommate to vacate the premises and he or she has refused, it’s time to get legal. And in fact, the language you’ll want to use is quite similar to that of a tenant-landlord eviction.

But there’s good news here – most roommates don’t have a lease, which means that in most states, their rights are the same as a tenant with a month-to-month arrangement.

If that’s the case, you only need to give them one month to find a new place to live and move out. Check local and state tenant laws and cover all your bases before finalizing any documents. You might want to seek some legal advice, as well.

Information that’s standard on eviction notices should include:

  • Specific grounds for asking the tenant to vacate (here’s where any evidence you’ve gathered about improper or illegal activity will come in handy).
  • The time frame in which your roommate must leave (usually 30 days), but check your lease and local laws. Include the date notice is being given and the date by which the roommate must be gone.

You’ll also want to serve your roommate formally – handing him or her the notice, as well as posting it on the bedroom door and sending it via certified mail. Some states may require a signature from the roommate to show that the notice has been received.

If your roommate still refuses to leave, the matter may go to court, so it’s vital you document all lease or law violations, every conversation (electronic ones are best for documenting any discussion of the eviction process), and all matters related thereto to bolster your case.

It’s important to note, you should never try to forcibly remove your roommate from the premises. If a dangerous situation arises, leave and notify law enforcement immediately.

This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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