How can I get a tenant to pay their rent?

I own and live in a townhouse. About 4 months ago, a “friend” moved into a spare bedroom. There was no lease offered to him since we’ve known each other for two years. He paid the first month’s rent. Since then, he’s gone three months without paying a dime, even though bills utilities, internet, mortgage are due on a monthly basis. I have asked him several time for rent. He has a job and just bought a used car. Can I legally give him 30 days to vacated to property? How can I make sure I still get the rent due to me?

Asked on September 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

1) You may immediately file for eviction for nonpayment of rent; no prior notice is necessary if the tenant does not pay the agreed-upon rent.

2) Alternately, since there is no written lease, this is a month to month tenancy; you could provide a month's notice terminating the tenacy.

Note that for either 1) or 2) you have to evict by filing an eviction action in court; you may not simply lock him out, change the keys, etc.

3) You could sue him in small claims court, where you could act as your own attorney, for any money he owes you.

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