How To Kick Out A Roommate [Fast & Easy]

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How to Legally Evict a Tenant

Should I Add a New Roommate to My Lease?

What Renters Need to Know About the Eviction Process

Step 6: File an Appeal

Finally, if the judicial officer issues a ruling stating that the unwanted occupant doesn’t have to move out of the property, you (or the landlord, if you’re renting) could file an appeal.

This means filing a notice of appeal as soon as possible after the original court makes its ruling. Most states have an appeal deadline, giving anywhere from a few days to a about a month after the ruling is issued to file an appeal.

Note that in most states, a ruling in an eviction case can only be overturned if the lower court made a legal mistake in arriving at its judgment, like not allowing witnesses when the law requires it, and has nothing to do with whether you (or your landlord) liked the outcome of the case or not.

Appeals can take a few weeks to a few months, and may require additional filing fees, depending on the state.

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Contact your landlord

Contact your landlord and see if your landlord is willing to help you with the eviction. Before you do, ensure you have not broken your lease by hosting an unauthorized roommate in your apartment. Bringing this to a landlord’s attention might be just cause to evict your roommate and you.

Some landlords can be hesitant to intervene in roommate disputes for fear of getting sued. However, if your roommate is causing damage to the property or not paying rent, your landlord likely has a financial incentive to help you evict your roommate.

Your lease might also require that you notify your landlord of any changes to your living situation, such as adding a new roommate. If you fail to do so, your landlord might have the right to evict you. If your landlord is unwilling or unable to help you, your next step is to consult an attorney or local housing authority to learn about your options.

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.

Roommate Agreement

It’s often a good idea to have a written agreement with your co-tenants.The agreement covers daily living issues such as noise limits, cleaning obligations and, of course, who pays how much of the rent. If your roommate breaks the agreement, you can take him to small claims court and sue, for example for unpaid rent. That may make your roommate mad enough to leave, but the judge isn’t likely to force him to move.

How to Kick Out a Roommate on Your Own

While it can be more or less difficult to evict a roommate depending on your state, the process is similar. It can consume your time, money, and patience. Here are the steps to take when evicting a roommate.

If You Own the Property

When you are the property owner, you can take matters into your own hands, but you must follow your state’s protocol and give due notice to the roommate. If the roommate declines, you will need to take legal action. It can be frustrating to figure out the vital process of delivering an eviction notice in your state.

States like Texas and Arizona allow you to contact a county constable to serve an eviction notice. In other states like New York and Washington, you must give the roommate a written eviction notice before going to court to have them legally removed. You can file the following eviction types, depending on your state:

  • Writ of possession actions
  • Unlawful or wrongful detainer
  • Forcible entry or detainer
  • Eviction or summary possession
  • Trespass

After filing the correct case, serve the notice to your roommate. You will need to attend the hearing and wait for the court’s verdict. If the court rules against your eviction request, you will need to appeal the judgment and have it overturned to evict them. Going to court can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if you need to appeal to the court. DoNotPay makes it simple to file the correct paperwork and builds an eviction case on your behalf.

If You Are Renting From a Landlord

If you are renting the property along with a roommate, you will need to request the roommate’s eviction from the landlord. Before you go to the landlord, it is critical to review your lease agreement and make sure your arrangement with the roommate is permitted. The landlord could evict you and the roommate if the roommate was not authorized to stay.

If the roommate is not on the lease, has an unauthorized sublease, or is simply a guest, the landlord may still need to go through a legal process, depending on the state. The landlord will likely seek to evict you for violating the lease agreement. DoNotPay can help you with legal issues involving your landlord or roommate.

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.

How to Evict a Roommate Who is Not on the Lease in Illinois

Ideally, you can have a civil conversation with your roommate and ask them to leave in an acceptable amount of time. During this conversation, be sure to write your request, date it, and file a copy. Remember, if your roommate does agree to move out, you will be responsible for their share of rent and utilities, if applicable.

Assuming your situation is a bit stickier than this, getting rid of a roommate who is not a legal cotenant may be more challenging. If they refuse to leave, you may need to consult a lawyer before proceeding. The state of Illinois has enacted eviction laws to establish a lawful and peaceful framework for removing unwanted tenants from real property. The Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer Act clearly states:

"…no person has the right to take possession, by force, of premises occupied or possessed by another, even though such person may be justly entitled to such possession. The forcible entry and detainer statute provides the complete remedy at law for settling such disputes. Persons seeking possession must use this remedy at law for settling such disputes. Persons seeking possession must use this remedy rather than force."

In other words, you cannot physically force an unwelcome tenant to move out of your unit. This family member, guest, or friend technically holds possession of the property by the prior "oral agreement" of the person having a title claim. Because you initially allowed them to live with you, they can only be removed through the formal Illinois eviction process. Calling the police to remove your unwanted roommate physically will not be effective, as the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act applies to police officers and landlords. If your unwanted guest can prove that they were initially allowed to move in, they cannot be removed as a criminal trespasser.

So, what can you do? You'll have to formally terminate the unwanted guest's right to possession through a written 30-day notice to terminate their tenancy. If the individual still hasn't vacated the residence after 30 days, you have the right to file an eviction lawsuit. A judge can demand this individual vacate the apartment. This process can be very timely and costly. Still, it is the only way to legally evict an unwanted occupant to whom you gave possession of the property by either real or apparent permission.

Even if this person is a family member, or maybe never even paid rent, they do have tenancy. This tenancy can be proven by receiving mail at the property, owning a driver's license with the property's address, leaving belongings at the unit, having a key to the unit, sleeping at the residency regularly or semi-regularly, or even just claiming to live there. Believe it or not, not having paid rent is a non-issue.

If you're thinking about changing the locks on this person, reconsider. Because you initially allowed this person to live with you, locking them out is illegal. It may even result in a lawsuit against you! A wrongful eviction may subject you to legal liability, which can become very costly on your end.

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.

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.

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.

Step 3: Contact Law Enforcement / Deliver an Eviction Notice

Depending on the state you live in, you may need to go through the courts to remove an unwanted occupant from the property. Other states allow you to go directly to law enforcement to have the person removed from the property without opening a court case.

Contacting Law Enforcement

If you live in a state that doesn’t require you to go through the courts to remove someone who’s overstayed their welcome, like Arizona, consider yourself lucky. You simply need to contact law enforcement officials and they’ll take care of the rest.

Officers will remove the person from the property for you. However, some states require officers to allow the party to offer some form of proof that they have the right to remain on the property. It’s up to the officer to determine whether it’s acceptable or not.

If you happen to live in a law-enforcement evictions state, then you’re done! You don’t have to do anything else to get the person removed from your property.

Delivering an Eviction Notice

If you don’t live in a state that allows law enforcement evictions in these situations, you’ll be required to file some type of court case to get the party removed.

As a first step in those states, you’ll most likely be required to give the person a written eviction notice before filing the court case.

In Tennessee, for example, “unauthorized” persons must be given a 3-Day Notice to Quit. However, a few states, like Indiana, don’t require prior written notice in these cases.

An eviction notice (if required) should contain the following information:

  • The reason for the eviction
  • The fact that if the person doesn’t move out within a certain time frame (as determined by your state’s laws) you’ll file a court case to remove them from the property
  • Any other sentences required by state law to be on the notice (for example, “You have the right to contest this eviction in court.”)

You’ll also need to make sure that you’ve properly delivered it to the person you want to remove, or your court case could be dismissed.

Some of the most commonly allowed delivery methods include:

  • Hand-delivering a copy of the notice to the unwanted occupant
  • Posting a copy of the notice in a conspicuous place at the property
  • Leaving a copy of the notice with a family member, another occupant, or a co-worker
  • Mailing a copy of the notice

These methods vary slightly from state to state, so it’s necessary to ensure that you’ve delivered the notice in the correct way.

Once the notice has been properly formatted and delivered, you can file an eviction case with the court.

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Grounds for Eviction

If your landlord does decide to act against your roommate, it won’t be immediate. First, she has to give your roommate notice. If he responds by fixing the problem — pays the back rent, for instance — then he can stay. If not, and he refuses to move out, your landlord has to go to court. She can file in superior court for a writ of unlawful detainer. Once she has the writ, she can have the sheriff escort your roommate out. If she loses the suit, you’re still stuck with your roommate.

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