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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 10 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.


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