For many people, having a roommate can be both financially and emotionally rewarding. Yet, in some cases the roommate relationship turns sour. This may be due to personality conflicts, or a failure to live up to economic obligations. In either case, the "good" roommate may decide to get rid of the "bad" one. Although it seems difficult to do so, the law actually has a process for this. It's possible to evict your roommate just like a landlord would evict a tenant.
Initiating a Roommate Eviction
The ability to evict a roommate will largely depend on whether the person is a party to the lease. If the person is staying in your home, or is not on the lease it will be easier to remove him or her. However, it is still possible for a person not on the lease to have tenant rights due to a long period of residency in your home.
In a basic eviction action, you will have to perform a few different steps. First, you must serve the sub-tenant with a valid eviction notice. This notice will need to contain legal cause for eviction. Acceptable reasons to evict include the non-payment of rent, criminal acts or causing damage to the property. You will also need to compile evidence to support this claim.
Following the service of the eviction notice, a court date will be set. During this hearing, you will need to present all relevant evidence that supports the eviction. If you win the case, the judge will typically give the opposing party a specific time-frame to move out. The length of the unlawful detainer process will depend on the laws of your jurisdiction. As a plaintiff in a landlord-tenant action, you can also hire a real estate lawyer to represent you.
Things are a bit more tricky when a roommate is a signee to the lease. In such a case, only the landlord of the unit has the right to initiate an eviction. This is due to the fact that the roommate is actually a co-tenant, and has a contractual relationship with the landlord. Yet is important to remember that the landlord has the right to evict all the tenants of the unit. If you are claiming some sort of lease violation has occurred, it may give the landlord cause to evict everyone.
If evicting a roommate seems too extreme, remember that you have other options. Simple communication can be effective. Having a serious conversation with your roommate can help to resolve problems. It can also work to convince your roommate to move out without having to go through the burdensome legal process.
In any case, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced lawyer for help. Landlord-tenant cases are a lot more complicated than they seem. A real estate attorney can help you weigh your options and find the right course of action. For help in the state of Utah, contact Spencer and Jensen, PLLC.