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How to Evict a Deadbeat Roommate


Staff member
Dec 14, 2023
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Sharing an apartment with a roommate? Realizing it isn't like a TV sitcom — think "Friends" or "The Big Bang Theory" — is hard. We get it. Hostility rules when you share an apartment with someone who isn't responsible.

And while sharing an apartment might be good for your lifestyle and checking account, it might not be all it's cracked up to be. When things go sour, what will it take to kick someone out?

Nearly 32 percent of the overall American adult population lived in a shared household in 2017, according to Fact Tank by Pew Research. That's an increase from about 29 percent in 1995, according to an analysis of census data.

Pew Research also says young adults are more likely than middle-aged or older adults to live in someone else's household. Among those younger than 35, 30 percent were the extra adult in someone else's household in 2017, up from 26 percent in 1995.

With that much cohabitation going on, there are bound to be some bad situations.

Roommate pain points​

Living with someone is always a challenge in the beginning, especially if you've never lived with anyone else before. Here are a few typical roommate pain points:

  • Is your roommate not paying their share of the rent on time?
  • Have they lost their job?
  • Are they showing no concern for being responsible, as promised?
  • Is your roommate not doing their share to keep the apartment clean? From doing dishes to taking out the trash or other clean-up duties?
  • Do you suddenly have a dog or cat living in your apartment even though the lease doesn't allow critters?
  • Is your roommate's boyfriend or girlfriend now living with you, too?
  • Is your roommate constantly noisy? Playing music loud, talking on the phone constantly, blasting the volume on the TV or playing video games?
  • Is your roommate using the apartment for illegal purposes?

Warning signs​

There's likely going to be warning signs about your roommate's behavior. Your roommate could negatively impact your life without thinking and then refuse to compromise. Take active steps to improve your situation. It's OK to consider it a loss. Next time you share an apartment, you'll know exactly what (and who) to avoid.

Always take proper precautionary measures before anyone moves in with you. Vet potential roommates. Discuss important topics like expectations of cleanliness and quiet hours. Talk about how to handle disagreements, recommends Susan Fee, author of "My Roommate is Driving Me Crazy!" in the Atlantic. That could help to prevent a bad situation before it even begins.

Failure to comply​

So, it might come down to checking your lease for the ability to kick your roommate out. See what your rights are. Most eviction terms are in black and white on the lease. You could pursue an eviction based on your roommate not paying the rent on time. As a tenant, here some important points to consider:

  • If you're co-tenants, your roommates' lack of paying the rent on time could put you in jeopardy of eviction. Are you prepared to face that?
  • Is your roommate on the lease or did you allow them to move in without permission from the rental complex or landlord? Without permission, your situation is going to be a lot messier to settle.
  • If you're not on the lease but your roommate is, you likely have little to no recourse

Now's the time to bone up on tenants' rights in your state. This is critical if your relationship with your roommate is hostile. Do this before you ask them to leave, according to vice.com. Make sure you can't be sued by your deadbeat roommate if you attempt to get them out of your apartment.

Talk first​

Being resentful of your roommate's behavior has pushed you to the edge, so let them know it! Even if you've scheduled check-in meetings on a regular basis to go over cohabitation issues, enough is enough.

When you're at a stalemate, proceed to resolve it by asking your roommate to leave. Usually, if it's not good for one person it's not good for the other person, even if they're not aware of it yet. If you can manage, try to give your roommate a minimum of one or two months' notice, suggest the experts.

No choice but to evict​

If it comes down to eviction, there's a series of steps that must be followed to evict a roommate. These include knowing your rights as a tenant and checking your lease's liability clause, suggests lifehacker.com.

Will your roommate's delinquent rent payments negatively affect you or will their issue be considered a separate matter? Look for the term joint and/or several liability. These terms mean you're responsible for paying the full rent whether your roommate pays or not. Nolo.com reports that an innocent co-tenant will suffer the consequences of a roommate's misdeeds. The raging party that your roommate threw when you were away on business can result in a broken lease notice directed to you, too.

There are several actions you're legally not allowed to do (such as changing the locks, removing personal property or shutting off utilities). Perhaps most importantly, be certain you've created a paper trail of his or her wrongdoings. Without a lease, your roommate will be treated as if they had a month-to-month lease, reports rocketlawyer.com. And they'll likely need only a month to vacate.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional financial or legal advice as they may deem it necessary.​

The post How to Evict a Deadbeat Roommate appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.
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