How do I evict a roommate not on the lease?

I rented a room in my apartment to a girl, who is not on the lease, but she owes me 2 months rent. She has left her things in the room and will have someone pick them up for her. Is it possible for me to put her things in storage until she pays me the rent she owes? And, do I need to formally evict her?

Asked on July 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If she was paying you rent, she was your subtenant (presumably on an oral, or unwritten sublease). That means that yes, you have to evict her as you would any other tenant, by filing a legal action; you would file for eviction based on unpaid rent. You may also sue her (such as in small claims court) for any rent or other amounts (e.g. utilities) she owes you. However, you may NOT withhold her possessions to force her to pay, not unless she actually used them as collateral for her obligations (i.e. gave you a security interest in them).

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