What should I do if my roommate hasn’t paid rent for about 3 months and refuses to leave the apartment?

UPDATED: Sep 14, 2011

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What should I do if my roommate hasn’t paid rent for about 3 months and refuses to leave the apartment?

We did sign 1 year sublease contract between he and I. I’m the primary tenant. I ended up paying the whole rent + utilities. With my income I won’t be able to continue covering all the expenses.

Asked on September 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Actually this person isn't techinaclly your roommate; they are your sub-tenant. Therefore this makes you their sub-landlord. Accordingly, you have the legal right to file an unlawful detainer action (i.e. eviction lawsuit). 

You will have to comply with all legal requirements in order to get your subtenant removed. This starts with written notice (for non-payment of rent it can range from 3 - 30 days, depending on the jurisdiction).  You will then the"unlawful detainer". At such point, this person will either have to leave the premises by the date stipulated or the sheriff will remove them, 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 consult directly with a real estate attorney; hey can advise you of the correct way in which to go about this. The fact is that NYC has its own unique rules for landlord-tenant matters.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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