How to kick out a roommate

Can I Evict a Roommate Not on the Lease During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Many states and cities have implemented eviction bans for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. Even if there isn’t a ban, most courts across the United States have postponed hearings on non-essential matters—including hearings on eviction and landlord-tenant matters. As this article describes, your roommate doesn’t have to be on the lease or rental agreement to legally qualify as a tenant or to acquire rights similar to those of an official tenant. This means that you’re likely stuck with your roommate for now. Check the language of any applicable bans and court notices to find out exactly what you can and cannot do during the outbreak.

Even if you’re not able to have your roommate physically removed from your rental at this time, you can take steps now that will facilitate ending the relationship as soon as possible. For example, write the roommate a letter stating that they must leave as soon as the state of emergency is declared over. If you decide you’d like to enlist your landlord’s help in removing the roommate (as discussed below), contact your landlord now and work out a plan. Also, some courts are still accepting eviction papers, but just postponing hearings until normal court procedures resume—check your local court’s website to find out if this is an option.

Finally, consider having a frank discussion with the roommate. Chances are, you’re at home with this person due to stay-at-home orders. See if you can work out an agreement about your living arrangement that allows you to peacefully co-exist for now, and then go your separate ways once the pandemic fears are over. Be sure to put any arrangement in writing.

Do You Have the Legal Power to Evict Your Roommate in Idaho?

This is a tricky question depending on your arrangement. As stated before, oral contracts are valid in the state of Idaho, though only within specific limits. While under those agreements, you or your landlord (whoever is in charge of your roommate’s tenancy) would need to follow the law as written for tenants. If the agreement is informal or there’s no proof of such a contract, you might have more power to compel them to leave as a guest or the like.

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Getting the Landlord’s Help to Evict Unwanted Occupants

Depending on your relationship, you might consider enlisting your landlord’s help in removing the unwanted roommate—especially when the landlord approved a subtenancy or was aware of the roommate. However, if you brought in an occupant in violation of a clause in your lease or rental agreement (such as a no-long-term-guests clause or a no-subletting clause), your landlord might simply terminate your tenancy to be rid of the problem.

Even if your landlord would like to help you remove your roommate, your landlord might ultimately decide there’s no viable solution other than to evict all people living in the rental and start fresh with a new tenant.

Due to the complexity of getting rid of an unauthorized occupant in your rental, consider consulting with a local landlord-tenant attorney before taking any action. As discussed above, state, local, and rent control laws vary greatly, and often just one misstep under the law can set you back to square one in the process of removing a roommate.

What Are Your Roommate’s Rights as a Tenant?

Under normal circumstances, your roommate would have the same rights as a tenant as you or anyone else renting from your landlord. However, without that rental contract, things would be a little more nebulous.

While your roommate should theoretically be offered the same protection under the law with your verbal contract, proving that a verbal contract is in place (or that it is even enforceable to begin with) can be tricky. As such, your roommate may be legally considered more like a guest than a renter and would not be protected in the same way you are with your landlord.

However, there’s also the potential that they are considered a tenant, or a tenant-at-will. All of this can get quite confusing, so it’s smart to use DoNotPay to help you sort through the facts.

Step 5: Attend the Hearing

In those states that require a court hearing to remove the unwanted party, the person who filed the court case is required to attend the hearing or the case will be dismissed.

If your landlord filed the court case, the landlord will be required to attend the hearing. It’s still a good idea for you to show up, even if you’re not required to attend, because you could be called as a witness or have additional evidence to offer the court.

If the Court Rules in Your Favor

If the court rules in your favor, then the unwanted occupant must leave the property. But how this is accomplished varies by state. In some states, the landlord (or person who filed the court case) receives the eviction order and can remove the unwanted party themselves.

In other states, law enforcement officials receive a copy of the eviction notice, and they’re responsible for removing the person and their belongings from the property.

If the Court Doesn’t Rule in Your Favor

It’s possible that the court will rule that the unwanted occupant doesn’t have to move out. In that case, depending on the reason for the ruling, you or your landlord (if renting) may be able to file a new court case.

For example, if you didn’t properly serve the party with the eviction notice or summons and complaint, you could file a new case, making sure to properly serve them this time around.

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If you believe the court made an error in reaching their decision, you (or the landlord, if renting) could file an appeal, explained in step 6 below.

Check state and city laws if: 

  • Your roommate did not sign the lease with you, but your landlord authorized the individual to live there. 
  • Your roommate isn’t on the lease and is an illegal tenant (a tenant the landlord is unaware of or chooses not to be). In this case, kicking someone out who is not on the lease would apply in this scenario.
  • Your roommate is a subtenant, meaning the individual has a lease with you (the primary tenant), not the landlord.
  • Your roommate is a lodger, meaning the person pays you to live in your home and has no lease.

BEWARE: In these situations, you might be breaking your lease by illegally allowing an unauthorized tenant to live with you. If you come to your landlord for help to evict your roommate, who you have unlawfully been allowing to live with you, you are at risk of being evicted, too. Make sure to speak with a lawyer or your local housing authority before taking action.

Terminating the Tenancy

A tenancy in Indiana can either be a lease term or a periodic tenancy. A lease term is when someone contracts to rent a premises for a set term, like a year. They are then obligated to pay rent for a year, and the landlord is obligated to rent to them for that period. However, at the end of the lease term, the tenancy is terminated.

If someone lives in rental property without a lease agreement for a set period of time, or stays beyond the lease term, the tenancy is considered a general tenancy under Indiana law, defined in the state code as a month-to-month tenant. Either party is permitted to terminate the tenancy with 30 days’ notice. That means that an Indiana landlord can advise a month-to-month tenant on January 30 that the tenancy will end as of March 1.

This option is useful when people simply aren’t getting along. A landlord doesn’t like a tenant? A master tenant quarrels with a subtenant roommate? The tenancy can be terminated with a 30-day notice for any reason or no reason in Indiana. The notice must be in writing and delivered to the tenant. If they do not leave on the date specified, the next step is a notice to vacate.

Do I have to evict guests who overstay their welcome?

The answer here depends on the details and where you live. In most states, guests will not be considered tenants or require being evicted through the court process. However, if they refuse to leave voluntarily, law enforcement may need to get involved. That might require you to prove the person does not have any rights to be there. It may be a different scenario, however, if those guests are really short-term renters.

In cities or states where there are strong renter protections, a guest may establish rights as a tenant if they have lived somewhere for a certain number of days. When this happens, the eviction process must be followed to get them out. If you believe your guest, roommate, or other cohabitant has gained rights as a tenant, ask a lawyer for help.

Eviction Lawsuits in Indiana

If a roommate moves out when served with a notice to quit, the problem is solved. If not, the landlord has to file an eviction lawsuit. The landlord has options as to which court they choose to file the eviction in. They can go to the township court in the county where the property is located or file the action in small claims court. Each court has different forms, time frames and costs.

The landlord fills out a complaint form to begin the eviction case. There is a fee for filing the documents in court. Once the proper paperwork is completed, the clerk of court schedules a court hearing and prepares a summons that sets out the date and place of the hearing. The exact documents required and the filing fee vary from county to county. A copy of these documents must be served on the roommate. This can be done by a sheriff or constable.

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.

Step 2: Speak with Your Landlord (If Renting)

If you’re renting, and your roommate, guest, family member, or anyone who’s not on the lease will not leave, talk to your landlord.

If your roommate is named on a rental agreement/lease with you, talk to your landlord about why you feel they should move out. If the landlord agrees, they can file an eviction action against your roommate.

In many states, if the landlord wasn’t aware that you had someone staying with you, or the landlord didn’t give you permission to have others stay with you, then your landlord can legally evict them. (And might just evict you, too, if your lease prohibits unauthorized guests/roommates.)

In other states, even if the landlord was aware that others were staying with you, they may still have to be the one to file the eviction action with the court.

Don’t be afraid to speak up and let your landlord know what’s going on, even if you violated the lease by allowing someone else to stay with you.

Can I ask someone to leave?

Yes, but doing so requires tact. Asking is often the first step. Of course, simply asking may be no simple task. Since you know this person, exercise discretion and your own best judgment to decide when and how to ask. You may consider offering an incentive, like waiving a month of rent or assistance with moving out.

If you rent, you may want to consider speaking with a lawyer to review your Lease Agreement or Sublease Agreement to confirm your rights before asking. It is important to make sure you in fact have the right to evict whoever you are asking to leave. Typically, if you own the property, or are the primary tenant, you will have this right. If both you and your roommate, or neither of you, are on a lease, then you may not be allowed to evict them. Asking your landlord to get involved might end up being futile, and can harm your relationship with your landlord.

Even if you do not have the right to evict whoever you live with, you may still be able to ask them to leave. Unfortunately, they do not have to comply. If they do agree, you may need to notify your landlord and update your Lease Agreement.

If you have a clear written agreement, an established month-to-month tenancy, or a sublease arrangement with your roommate or family member, look at those documents. You may be able to provide them with a Notice of Non-Renewal when the lease expires. If they do not voluntarily leave after that notice, you may need to explore eviction.

How to write an eviction notice for a roommate

If you’re in a situation where you need to know how to write an eviction notice to a roommate, you need to keep some essential points in mind. First, check your state’s laws on eviction notices; each state has different requirements. Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to sit down and compose the notice. 

An eviction notice for your roommate should include:

  • The date of the eviction notice
  • Your full name and address and your roommate’s full name and address
  • A statement saying that you’re the legal tenant of the residence and your roommate is an unauthorized occupant
  • The reason for the eviction notice (for example, your roommate is not paying rent or causing damage to the property)
  • A notice that your roommate has a certain amount of time to vacate the premises (for example, 24 hours)

Once you’ve written the notice, sign and date it. You can serve it to your roommate in person or via certified mail. After that, it’s up to the individual to comply with the notice. If not, you can take further legal action. Always consult a legal professional before taking any legal action.

Evicting a roommate or asking them to leave is never an easy task, but being comfortable and relaxed in your own apartment is an important feeling for any renter. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the right fit, and if your roommate isn’t cutting it, it might be time to move on.

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