If I am a subletter with a signed contract with the landlord, can I be evicted without a written notice of eviction?

UPDATED: Feb 18, 2012

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If I am a subletter with a signed contract with the landlord, can I be evicted without a written notice of eviction?

I took over the lease from the original tenantand signed a contract with the landlord. However, the landlord informed me that I am a “subletter” and therefore any nonpayment of rent falls back onto the original tenant. Today, the landlord verbally threatened to come to the house and “throw me and my belongings onto the street” if rent is not paid by this coming Tuesday. Is this legal? What course of action do I have?

Asked on February 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Iowa


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  It must be terrifying to have this happen.  It sounds more like you assumed the lease from the original tenant and so you stepped in to their shoes and status.  So you are the tenant.  But please read the lease and see what it states.  It is binding.  Now, are you paying the landlord directly or the original tenant?  I am guessing the landlord.  So no, he can not threaten you - regardless of your status - or touch your belongings.  I think you should seek out a tenant's rights organization or an attorney to help you here to try and stop this guy in his tracks.  If he wants to evict you he has to do it legally.  Good luck.

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