What are my rights if my roommates will not pay their share of the rent?

I have 2 roommates that live in my apartment. I am the only one listed on a lease that expired at the end over 18 months ago. I have been going month-to-month since then. I decided to get said roommates about 7 months ago. It was originally going to be 3 months, which we put on a piece of paper and signed. I collected 1st month’s rent, last month’s rent and 1 month security. They paid me for 2 more months of rent but have withheld 3 months of rent. They first claimed that they were waiting for a big check to clear but after I confronted them asking to see a copy of the check, they said they weren’t going to pay me at all because I did not have a lease and therefore didn’t have to pay me.

Asked on November 14, 2015 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If they are subleasing from you, as appears to be the case, you are effectively their "landlord" and you may bring an eviction action in court to remove them for nonpayment of rent. You may also try suing them for the money (as you apparently), but often, small claims court will not hear or resolve suits for rent until after the tenancy (or sub-tenancy) is over: i.e. your first recourse for tenant/subtenant nonpayment is eviction.

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