Sample Roommate Eviction Notice Template
Good roommates can be lifelong friends, but bad roommates can make life absolutely unbearable. If you're stuck with a roommate you need to kick out, you can start the process by sending your . Even the best of friendships and relationships can turn sour, and the eviction process can bring out the worst in people, so you'll want to make sure you do things right, so you can successfully evict your roommate and move on with your life.
Eviction is a legal process, so you'll want to follow the correct procedures to make sure your roommate really does have to move out. While eviction laws vary a bit from state to state, the fundamental elements are the same.
The process can take a little time, so you'll want to do things right from the start, and DoNotPay is here to help guide you through the process. If you feel your roommate is a danger to you or others and needs immediate action, you should contact local law enforcement instead of trying to evict them yourself.
Eviction Law Basics
Each state has specific laws concerning when and how someone can be evicted. Some states (considered landlord-friendly ones) give landlords a lot of power and leeway when evicting tenants, while other states (considered tenant-friendly ones) give renters a lot of protection from their landlords' actions. Where you live will determine whether favor landlords or tenants in your case.
Should You or Your Landlord Evict Your Roommate?
State laws, how your roommate is connected to the property, and the terms of your lease agreement (or if you do not have a written lease) can all affect how the eviction process goes. If you are the property owner, you will act as the landlord in the eviction. If you have a landlord yourself, you can still perform the eviction yourself, or you can ask your landlord for help. Depending on the terms of your lease, your landlord may have to evict both of you, rather than just your roommate, though you may also ask your landlord to sign a new lease agreement with you after the eviction.
Even if your landlord takes care of evicting your roommate, you can still sue them in small claims court if they owe you for rent, utilities, or other living expenses they were supposed to pay directly to you.
Do You Have a Roommate, a Guest, or Some Other Relationship?
Determining the legal relationship between your roommate and the property you want to kick them out of can help you figure out your next steps. Someone living with you may be a roommate, a guest, subtenant, or have some other legal connection to the property.
|Roommate||Someone is generally considered a roommate if they pay rent (to you or to your landlord) or contribute to other living expenses such as utilities.|
|Guest||A guest is a person who usually stays for a short time and isn't expected to contribute toward shared living expenses.|
|Subtenant||This is someone you charge rent to in a place where you are already the renter, for example, if you rent out the second bedroom in your apartment.|
|Other Relationships||In some states, a guest who stays longer than a certain number of days, someone who stays after they stop paying rent, or other situations, change how they can be evicted.|
A roommate or guest maybe a friend, relative, or even a stranger (if, for example, you advertised for a roommate online), which is different from their legal connection to the property.
Reasons for an Eviction
Evictions must be done for legally acceptable reasons, not just because you or your landlord don't like someone or for any discriminatory reasons. The most common reasons for evictions are:
- Not paying rent
- Violating the terms of the lease
- Criminal activity on the property
- Staying after the end of a lease agreement
- Being a danger to others on the property
Can You Legally Evict Your Roommate?
Most of the time, yes, you can in most places. The details will depend on your location, whether you have a lease agreement, and if so, how it is written. Evictions are covered by Landlord-Tenant laws, offering protection to both sides. You should also know that it's illegal for a landlord or anyone to perform a "self-help eviction" that forces someone out by changing the locks, moving their belongings outside, shutting off utilities, or similar approaches.
How Does the Eviction Process Work?
In an ideal world, you could simply ask your roommate to leave, they would agree, and your problems would be quickly and easily solved. When things don't go that way, you'll want to know how the eviction process typically works.
- Notice — You or your landlord will send a letter to your r, setting a deadline for them to go, and indicating that an eviction lawsuit may follow if they don't move out. State and local laws describe how much time someone must be allowed between receiving notice and further steps being taken, and that time period can vary depending on the reasons for the eviction. In some states, you may not need to give notice but can simply ask your local law enforcement to remove your roommate from the property.
- If your roommate moves out before the deadline, the process is complete.
- Eviction Lawsuit — If your roommate does not move out by the deadline, or earlier if state laws allow, your or your landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court which handles eviction cases in your jurisdiction. The type of case you file will depend on your location, the legal relationship between your roommate and the property, and why you are evicting them.
- Court Hearing — If your roommate still has not moved out after learning you have filed an eviction lawsuit, the lawsuit will proceed, and you or your landlord will have a chance in court to present your case for evicting your roommate. Your roommate also has the opportunity to present a defense, and the judge or magistrate will decide the case.
The types of eviction lawsuits you can file, as well as the steps required in the process, can vary a lot between states and whether or not your roommate has signed a written lease agreement. In all cases, you will want to have proof to justify your case, including such things as
- Any letters, notes, texts, or voicemail you have asking your roommate to leave
- Documentation (photos, unpaid bills, messages, statements from family and friends) showing the problems your roommate has caused
Do You Need to Warn Your Roommate Before Evicting Them?
In most cases, yes, you or your landlord need to give your roommate notice that you are evicting them, giving them the chance to move out or to pay up what they owe if that's the reason you are kicking them out. If your roommate isn't given appropriate notice, they may have grounds to contest and win an eviction lawsuit. Most states have exceptions to the required notice or time between giving notice and filing an eviction lawsuit for cases of criminal activity or if a roommate is dangerous. In a few states, no notice is needed, and you can simply contact law enforcement to evict your roommate — though doing so is usually at their discretion.
What if Your Roommate Refuses to Move Out?
If your roommate refuses to move out after you ask, your next step is to give them a demand letter, that is, a written notice that you want them to move out, a deadline to do so, and explaining you will file an eviction lawsuit if they do not move out. If you live in a state that does not require notice, you can request law enforcement to evict them for you.
If your roommate refuses to move out after you give them notice, you will generally need to file an eviction lawsuit, taking them to court.
Landlord-Tenant Laws and Renters’ Rights
Property owners and anyone living in a property they don't own has both protections and responsibilities under landlord-tenant laws. Some states have landlord-tenant laws that strongly favor landlords, while others are very supportive of tenant protections. Most states fall somewhere in-between.
In general, landlords are responsible for maintaining properties in safe, livable conditions and must follow the rules about their behavior toward tenants, rent payments, security deposits, making repairs, and other details. Landlords generally have rights concerning tenants who don't pay or cause property damage and other protections for their property and income.
Tenants also have responsibilities, primarily concerning payment of rent, abiding by the terms of the lease (whether written or not), and their behavior on and treatment of the property they rent. Tenants also have renters' rights and legal protections against unfair or discriminatory landlords, unsafe living conditions, neglected repairs, privacy, and other concerns.
How to Write a Roommate Eviction Letter by Yourself?
If you need to write your roommate an eviction letter, you will need to gather certain information before you write. Specifically, you should know:
- Know your reasons to evict your roommate and make sure they're legal reasons, not discrimination
- If your roommate has simply not paid some rent or utilities they owe, you should decide whether you'll allow them to stay if they pay up
- Whether your roommate lives there under a written lease or not
- Whether you want to involve your landlord, if you have one, for assistance
- What requirements your location has about notifying someone before starting to evict them
- If there's a required waiting time between notification and starting an eviction lawsuit, if you are required to make notification
What Should a Roommate Eviction Letter Include?
Your letter should be very clear about what you want and should be based on the information you've already gathered before writing. Be sure to include:
- A statement that you want your roommate to move out
- A deadline by which they need to have moved out, based on the requirements in your location
- Notification that you will sue them in an eviction lawsuit if they do not move out
While you can certainly deliver the letter to them by hand or put it in a shared space for them, like a kitchen counter, it's best to send it by certified mail, so you have proof of both when you sent it and when they received it, in case you do need to take them to court.
What Should You Do After You Send Your Roommate Eviction Letter?
After sending your eviction letter to your roommate, your situation will depend on what time period you may need to wait between giving them notice to move out and filing an eviction lawsuit. It will also depend on how your roommate decides to respond to your demand letter. In many states, the waiting period is only three days, while in others, it can be as long as two weeks, though the average is about five days.
During this time, you should make certain you have any documentation and proof of the problems your roommate has caused if you need to file an eviction lawsuit. You can also use this time period to explain the situation to your landlord, if you haven't already, and decide if they should take over instead of you.
Creating an Effective Roommate Eviction Letter With DoNotPay
With so much variation in how each state handles each type of eviction situation, it can be a tricky process to navigate. Mistakes you make may give your roommate plenty of opportunities to make a good defense in an eviction lawsuit.
Common Mistakes When Evicting a Roommate
The complicated eviction process, especially in tenant-friendly states, can make it easy to make mistakes if you don't have the legal experience to back you up. These mistakes can cause an eviction court case to be ruled in your roommate's favor and can even open you up to being counter-sued. Common mistakes include:
- Failing to give notice (unless you live in one of the few no-notice states)
- Performing a self-help eviction instead of following the legal procedures
- Filing the wrong kind of eviction lawsuit
- Not having evidence to back up the reasons for evicting your roommate
4 Easy Steps to Create Your Roommate Eviction Letter or Solve Other Landlord or Tenant Issues
Using DoNotPay's Landlord Protection product can help you create an appropriate letter to evict your roommate, and can help with additional steps in the eviction process, too, all in four easy steps:
- Search for and open the Landlord Protection product on DoNotPay.
- Select which issue applies to you.
- Answer a simple set of questions so our chatbot can collect the necessary information to create your demand letter.
- Choose whether you want DoNotPay to send the demand letter to your landlord or roommate on your behalf. If you already tried sending a demand letter and it didn't work, we can help you start the small claims court process.
Now, all you need to do is wait for a response from your roommate and follow through from there.
Why DoNotPay Should Be Your Go-to Solution
Using DoNotPay can save you effort and can put your mind at ease, too. DoNotPay's services are:
- Successful — A proven track record of success means you'll have the best chance of getting the results you want.
- Easy — Far less time and effort can get you even better results with DoNotPay.
- Fast — No extra time wasted hunting down rules, regulations, and legal details you probably will never need again. DoNotPay gives you excellent results with a very short turnaround time.
You Can Use DoNotPay to Resolve Many Landlord-Tenant Issues
Whether you're the roommate requesting the eviction or being evicted, our Landlord Protection product is designed to help you with eviction and other landlord-tenant issues, including
- Getting your security deposit back
- Sending your landlord a request for repairs
- Responding to a threat of eviction
- Learning how long your landlord has to return your security deposit — and how to sue your landlord if your security deposit isn't returned to you
- Filing a complaint against your landlord
DoNotPay Can Do Even More
Landlord-tenant issues are just one of the many ways DoNotPay's products can simplify and improve your life. DoNotPay can help you with all kinds of things, including
- Getting a refund for a late delivery
- Canceling any subscription or service
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- Getting passport photos
- Setting up a fake phone number for verifications