A bad or annoying roommate should not share the space with you. As such, this publication explains how to get rid of a roommate without committing a crime.
It sometimes does not work out with a messy, loud, unkempt, or a roommate who does not pay the rent. Such a roommate is irritating, and if you admire the apartment, you want them legally out or evicted.
Taking up illegal actions or self-help eviction against your roommate can get you or the landlord in trouble. The best option is always to move or talk to the roommate about their behaviors. If a roommate turns down your polite approach, taking legal action to kick them out is the way forward if they violate a major agreement.
However, if your roommate pays the rent on time, does not cause structural damages, or go against the lease, your landlord may not be willing to start the eviction proceedings.
How to get rid of a roommate without committing a crime
This section covers the legal steps you need to take to get rid of a roommate:
Talk to your roommate
An honest conversation can change things. Note your roommate’s annoying behaviors, and explain to them how they affect your wellbeing.
For instance, suppose your roommate listens to loud music late at the night. Say to them, “You listen to music loud music late in the night, which makes it difficult for me to get good sleep and wake up for work in the morning. Try wearing headphones or turning down the music.”
If possible, take note of the dates and times such events occurred. Instead of making generalizations, refer to specific incidents while discussing the issue with your roommate.
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Talking to them helps to address what bothers you before you ask the roommate to move. Sometimes, people do not realize that they are annoying or disturbing until they are informed.
A brief conversation where you mention their annoying behaviors bothering you may get them to change their behavior and not have to move out.
Give them time to move out
Your roommate (who is not named on the lease) needs enough time to find another apartment if you have talked them to agree to move.
And if they are on the lease, and being evicted, the eviction record will make it harder for them to find a new apartment. The landlord may even be forced to give them a bad reference letter if they are in violation of the lease.
Note that the eviction also appears in your public record. However, you can ask your landlord to sign an agreement releasing you from liability.
Removing a roommate on the lease without committing a crime may not be your decision to make, depending on your tenancy status – co-tenant or master tenant.
However, a roommate not on the lease but that you want out can be removed at any time, even before the end of the lease. Understand the stress of finding a new place, and give them enough time.
Do not give a short notice so that they can find a decent apartment to move to. Nonetheless, stand by the notice date you give them to relocate.
Offer money for room keys
Money for keys is a program landlords sometimes use to get a tenant to want to leave. It is perfectly legal to pay a roommate to leave, even if they are on the lease. However, the landlord needs to be aware. Check your local laws to know if your roommate’s lease termination is a problem.
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You are basically getting them to agree to move by offering to help finance their move. Do this if you can afford it. You can offer to pay their application fees or move-in fees, or offer to pay their first month’s rent for the new apartment.
Inform your landlord
When your roommate threatens you implicitly or explicitly, or refuses to move, disregard roommate diplomacy and inform your landlord.
According to Nolo.com, your landlord may be able to issue an unconditional quit notice to your roommate, depending on your state. This notice legally compels your roommate to move out without a lengthy notice or eviction process.
If your annoying roommate is not violating the lease, you can still have them evicted. You might have to wait until the end of the lease. However, early lease termination laws vary in different states.
If your roommate is not on the lease, you do not have to involve the landlord. You can engage a third party to mediate between you and your roommate.
Evict your roommate
Eviction proceedings can be long and expensive. However, the landlord can evict a roommate with just cause without committing a crime. Eviction is a legal process but should be your final option.
Your tenancy status in the lease agreement determines if you can evict a roommate.
- Co-tenants. Your roommate is a co-tenant if you are both named on the lease agreement. The law considers both of you equally liable for paying rent, and utilities, and following the lease agreement, including pet policies and quiet hours. A co-tenant cannot evict another co-tenant. Only your landlord can file for eviction in this case. Note that the eviction appears in public records under your name and the name of your roommate. Ask your landlord to sign an agreement releasing you from liability since you personally follow the lease terms.
- You as the master tenant. A master tenant is named on the lease agreement as the primary tenant who can sublet to the other roommate. If you are the master tenant and your roommate is the subtenant, you might be able to file to evict them without committing a crime. The legal proceedings are identical to the process a landlord follows to evict a tenant they want out.
- Your roommate as the master tenant. If your roommate is the master tenant, you cannot file to evict them as a subtenant. You should move out of the rental after giving the legal notice mentioned in your agreement. Nonetheless, you could contact your landlord to file to evict the master tenant and agree to rent to you after the eviction.
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If you decide that eviction is the way to go, you need to prove that your roommate has violated the lease or roommate agreement. Gather any evidence to back your claim while awaiting the court date.