How do I evict my roomate whose not on the lease?

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How do I evict my roomate whose not on the lease?

Asked on April 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, it seems that you are on the lease, but the roommate is not--that is, you are the person renting the premises. If so, then your options are as follows:

1) If your roommate is paying you rent, he or she is subletting from you. ("Paying rent' in this context includes regularly covering your utilities or othter costs.) If he or she is paying rent and has a written sublease with you, you can only evict him or her for nonpayment; for breach of lease terms; for  threatening you, stealing from you, or deliberately damaging the rental premises or your property; for denying you the ability to "quietly enjoy" the premises; at the expiration of the lease term; or otherwise as provided for by the lease. In short, you can only evict the roommate, if a tenant of yours with a written lease, for doing something wrong or when the lease is up.

If the roommate pays you rent but there is no written lease, he or she is a month to month tenant on an oral lease; in that case, in addition to evicting as per the above, you could provide 30 days notice that you are terminating the tenancy (just as he or she could move out on 30 days notice).

If a tenant fails to move out when you lawfully demand that he or she does, as per the above, you would then bring an eviction (a/k/a "summary disposses") action court. The only way to evict a tenant is through the courts--you can't, for example, simply change the locks.

2) If  the roommate is not paying rent--for example, he or she is a friend or significant other you are letting stay with you--then he or she is a guest. You can ask a guest to leave at any time, for any reason; if he or she does not, he or she becomes a trespasser and the police should, if necessary, help you. Be aware, though, that the police will sometimes refuse to help in this situation, if the roommate claims some right to be there--in that case, the police want the courts to determine who is right and wrong. In that instance, you'd bring either an eviction or an "ejectment" action ("ejectment" is how you get rid of non-tenants who claim some right to residency or possessio)--best thing to do would be to then go to an attorney to help you.


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