When Roommates Go Bad
Having roommates can be so much more fun than living alone, and save a ton of money. But roommates can also drive each other crazy! If the problem is that the roommates never do dishes, leave the toilet seat up, and host the occasional wild party, the solution is probably to either come up with some ground rules or learn to live with it.
What if the problems become more serious? What if your roommate never pays rent, trashes the house, or starts doing something illegal on the premises? The first step is simple: tell them to leave. Sit down with the roommate, explain the problem, and give them a couple of weeks to get their stuff out. Hopefully, they will understand and move on.
But what if they refuse to leave?
You may be tempted to dump their stuff on the lawn and change the locks, but they may take legal action against you for evicting them without notice. If they are not on the lease but they have been paying you rent every month, you can follow the same procedure a landlord would follow to evict a tenant.
Even without a written agreement, the two of you had an oral agreement that your roommate would be your sublessor. With no written agreement, the situation is considered a month-to-month lease. If your roommate has failed to pay rent, you need to give them a 10 day notice with an opportunity to do so.
If they haven’t paid rent in the 10 days, you can move forward with the eviction. File a Summary Ejectment Complaint and Summons at Small Claims court. The Sheriff will serve a Summons on your roommate. There will be a hearing with an opportunity for you and your roommate to explain your arguments.
If you win, your roommate will be forced to leave your home. Be careful and protect yourself and your belongings, as things may be contentious as your roommate moves out.
The Rights of Your Landlord
If your roommate is not on the lease and your lease does not allow sublessors, your landlord may be able to evict both you and your roommate if they wish. It’s a good idea to have a good working relationship with your landlord so that they will cooperate with you instead of trying to evict you too. In addition, it’s a good idea to try to get your roommate on the lease when they move in instead of leaving it as an informal arrangement.
If Your Roommate is Dangerous
If your roommate is violent towards you or threatens you, you can call the police and file a 50(b) restraining order against them. You do not need to go through the formal eviction process since you are in danger from them. They will have to leave your home and stay away from you going forward. This is especially true if your roommate is your boyfriend or girlfriend.
Evicting a roommate may be something you are able to handle yourself, but if you run into any issues, a lawyer may be able to help you sort them out. It’s also a good idea to get a lawyer involved before any problems arise to prevent situations like this from happening! Good luck with your roommate situation; hopefully, you will soon have a peaceful home to yourself.