Can I legally kick out a roommate who has not signed a formal lease agreement?

I am the sole holder of the lease to the rental property. This person also does not have anything under his name and not even an updated license. If so, what is the process of doing so?

Asked on July 11, 2015 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If your roommate paid rent (or was suppossed to) but is not on the lease, they are your "subtenant". Accordingly, you have the right to evict them. However, you must comply with the legal procedures for doing so, starting with giving them a 30-day "notice to vacate" the premises (or "notice to quit"). If they aren't out by the specified date, you will need to file a "unlawful detainer action" (i.e. an eviction lawsuit).

Note: They could be considered to be a tenant (as oppossed to a subtenant) if they paid rent directly to the landlord or if the landlord put (or allowed them to put) their name over the doorbell or on the mailbox. In that case, your landlord would need to file for the eviction since only landlords can evict tenants.

Again, be sure to take all required legal steps; otherwise they could be entitled to recover damages for unlawful eviction. So don't remove their belongings, change the locks, etc.

At this point, you should try to speak with an attorney who handles landlord-tenant cases. They can best advise you further.

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