What to do if my roommate has begun to engage in dangerous behaviors?

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What to do if my roommate has begun to engage in dangerous behaviors?

Twice this week she has left pots of grease on the stove overnight and I have gotten up to cut them off. She has been unlocking the front door and going to bed. She also has damaged her room. I have begun documenting things with photos and video and have written emails to the office asking for help but to no avail. There are 3 other families in our building and they all have children and she too has 2 small children living with us. I am deathly afraid that a fire is going to break out in the middle of the night or someone will enter the apartment. I’ve asked her to move out but she is refusing. She has also not paid any rent or bills in 3 months. What can I do?

Asked on November 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You most likely can't do anything, unfortunately.

1) First, a roommate may not make a roommate move out; only the landlord can, and only for certain reasons.

2) Potentially dangerous behaviour like you describe, however, is probably not something that supports eviction--if she does actual damage to the property, that would be different, but generally a landlord cannot evict only due to the risk of damage.

3) One tenant may not legally break her lease (move out early) due to the actions of his or her cotenant--so if you move out and stop paying rent, you will be in breach of your lease, may have a negative report on your renting and credit histories, and could be sued by the landlord for the remaining rent you would owe for the remaining term of the lease.


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