How do I legally get someone out of an extra room I’m renting if they don’t pay rent?

UPDATED: Jan 5, 2012

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How do I legally get someone out of an extra room I’m renting if they don’t pay rent?

I have a extra room for rent in the townhouse I lease. I verbally agreed to help out a person by letting them rent the room weekly. There is no document that states any renting guidelines or any contract based agreement. I’m simply renting the room weekly. The guy I am renting the room to did not pay rent for the week and I want to discontinue renting to him because of lack of payment and disrespect to my property what is the legal way of getting him out and proceeding with someone else? I’d there is no contract or legal document with a rent duration can I ask him to leave and if he doesn’t have him escorted out? I need to fill the room with someone that will pay.

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Since you are the primary tenant, this means that this person is your "subtenant" and you are his "sublandlord". Accordingly, since you have the legal right to occupy the premises, you can file an eviction lawsuit known as an "unllawful detainer".  You will first however, have to comply with all legal requirements in order to get this person. This starts with giving him written notice. If he fails to vacate by the date specified in the notice, you will then file the unlawful detainer. Once it is granted by a court, he will either have to leave the premises voluntarily or you can have the sheriff remove him. 

In the meantime do not undertake any "self-help" remedies (e.g. changing the locks, removing his belongings, etc). You could be sued if you do. At this point you should consult a tenant's right group or attorney who specializes landlord-tenant cases.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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