Can Ievict a roommate with no lease?

This girl is such a slob – piles upon piles of clothes, old food, inches of dust/cat hair, kitty litter everywhere, cat puke and poop stains on floor, ants going into her room, empty and full bottles of drinks, food with maggots under her bed, mildew in dishes left for months, toothpaste scum everywhere in sink, toilet ring that ants eat out of and I just want her out. She was an old co-worker/friend but I cannot stand it anymore.

Asked on October 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Since this roommate paid rent (I assume), she might be considered to be your unofficial tenant or "sub-tenant" (and you are the "sub-landlord"). Since you have the legal right to occupy the premises, you can file an unlawful detainer action (i.e. eviction proceeding).  This means however that you will have to comply with all legal requirements in order to get this "friend" removed.  This starts with giving your sub-tenant written notice (typically 30 days or so).  You will then file suit in court for an "unlawful detainer" (i.e. eviction). If it is granted, she will either have to leave the premises by the specified date or the sheriff will remove her. 

In the meantime do not undertake any "self-help" remedies such as changing the locks, removing her belongings, etc. You could be sued if you do. What you can do now is to contact a tenant's right group or attorney who specializes landlord-tenant cases; they can advise you of the correct way in which to go about this.

Note:  If this friend is an "official" tenant, the only way to have her legally removed from the premises is to have your landlord file for the unlawful detainer action.  Having your roommate's name on a lease is not the only way that she may be considered to be a formal tenant of your landlord.  In addition to being on the lease, she may have achieved the status of a tenant if your landlord accepted rent from her directly.  Also, if the landlord put (or allowed her to put) her name on the mailbox/doorbell, and/or if she rented the place together with you and it was clear that you were both on equal footing.  Of course, you may have your tenancy put in jeopardy if your roommate is illegal.


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