CanI get my roommate evicted or can Ibreak my lease if he is stealing from me?

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CanI get my roommate evicted or can Ibreak my lease if he is stealing from me?

My roommate is stealing from me. He’s taken $80 and broken my key-locked door handle. I have a recording of him, what now? The recording shows him first messing with the handle, even though I had not informed him that it was mysteriously broken. He then moved further into the room, picked up my computer speaker and examined it as if it was a recording device. He then proceeded to look around but did not take anything, shut the door, and never came back in. Can I get him evicted for entering my room through a closed but unlocked door? If not, is the video enough for me to break my lease if the landlord is unwilling to evict him?

Asked on February 8, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) You can't evict your roommate, but your landlord may be able to; all tenants have a right to quiet enjoyment, and not only is that right enforceable vs. the landlord himself, but the landlord must enforce it against other tenants who disturb or harass a tenant--or steal from them. You need to report this to the landlord and provide whatever evidence you have. If the landlord won't act, you'll need to decide whether it's worthwhile going to court and trying to force the landlord to act.

2) This does not give you the right to break your lease--at least not until you've tried to get the landlord to take steps and he's refused to; then you *might* have grounds to break the lease w/out liabilty, but should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney about your specific situation first..

3) If you have evidence of theft, you can report the roommate to the police and/or sue him for what he's taken.


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