If my lease expires in a few months and my roommate who is not on the lease says she won’t leave, how do I get her to move?

UPDATED: Feb 11, 2012

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If my lease expires in a few months and my roommate who is not on the lease says she won’t leave, how do I get her to move?

I have a friend who was having problems so I let her use the second bedroom until she could get her act together. She doesn’t pay rent or utilities and she is not on the lease. The lease does not allow me to sublet. My lease expires in 2 months. Several months ago I told her that I was not going to renew the lease and she needed to find someplace else to live. She says that she will have to live in her car if I leave. I told her I would give her money to help her move but she says she has nowhere to go and I would be responsible for the rent. What can I do to get her to leave?

Asked on February 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

She cannot make you responsible for her rent or to provide her a place to live.

You say she does not sublet from you; is not on the lease; and does not pay rent. That makes her a guest, not a tenant. A guest can remain only as long as  you allow her, and you may revoke her permission at any time. Do so--tell her she has to leave by, say, the weekend. If she will not leave, she becomes a trespasser. The police should help you make her leave if she will not.

If she tries to obscure the issue by claiming to the police, for example, that she is a tenant or subtenant (e.g. claims she pays rent), then you should evict her through the courts; provide her 30 days notice to leave and, if she does not, file an eviction action. You would probably want to hire an attorney to help you if she does not leave when you revoke her permission to stay and the police will not help.

Note that if you cannot get rid of her before your own lease is up and she still holds on, costing you money (e.g. the landlord holds you liable as a holdover tenant, for her continued occupancy), you should be able to sue her to recover your costs or damages from her.

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