How to kick out a guest of my apartment?

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How to kick out a guest of my apartment?

I have a year lease at an apartment in NYC. I let my friend move in with me, she never signed anything. She bought the furniture. She changed her mailing address to my apartment. She has not paid me any money for any of the rent, and my landlord does not even know there is someone living with me; its been close to 4 months now. I want her out, does she have any rights? What are my rights? How can I get her out?

Asked on February 8, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since your friend has not paid you rent or, I assume, any form of it (food, utilities, etc), then she is not a tenant.  However she will be considered to be what is called a "licensee".  That is someone who was invited to stay on the premises with your (the legal occupant's) permission.  Now that such permission has been revoked, she is subject to removal the same as a tenant would be - by eviction.  At this point you should give this friend a written notice (for a licensee 10 days is typically sufficient but use 30 to be sure; NYC has its own housing rules).  If she does not leave by the specified date, then you can file an "unlawful detainer action".  If you prevail, she will then be ordered by the court to vacate the premises.  If she doesn't then the sheriff will remove her forcibly if necessary.

In the meantime do not undertake any "self-help" measures such as changing the locks, etc. This will work against you. What you should do now is to contact a tenant's right organization or real estate attorney. They can advise you more spedifically of the correct way in which to go about this in NYC. You can also contact the local court and see if they have a pamphlet/website that gives this information.

Note:  As to this issue of the illegal roommate, I'm afraid that this is something that you will have to work out directly with your landlord. The fact is that this person is an illegal occupant so you may well find yourself on the wrong end of an eviction.  Check on this.


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