Can I kick my roommate out if he defaults on rent for the month?

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Can I kick my roommate out if he defaults on rent for the month?

We signed a lease last month. My roommate is also on the lease but hasn’t paid for anything and already owes me for last months rent and utilities and doesn’t have the money for next month due in a week. What do I have to do to get him out and off the lease?

Asked on September 19, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since you are both on the lease, you are both condiseredto be the lawful occupants. Consequetly, you have no right to evicthim. Any action to remove him from the premises must be taken by your landlord. However, action could be taken against both of you. In that event you could be evicted as well. Additionally, if your roommate is forced to leave, while technically they are still liable for the rent, so are you. When you signed the lease together you both became what is known as "jointly and severally liable". This means that the landlord can look not only to both of you to pay your share of the rent, but it can also look to either one of you to pay the entire amount. So, if your roommate is evicted you will continue to bear the cost of the full rent yourself. At least until you find another tenant that is suitable to your landlord.

Note: This doesn't mean that your roommate is off the hook financially to you. You could still sue in small claims court for any out-of-pocket payments that you made on their behalf.

At this point, you need to speak with your lanlord and explain the situation.


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