What are the legal procedures to evicting a roommate who is not on the lease?

UPDATED: Apr 5, 2012

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What are the legal procedures to evicting a roommate who is not on the lease?

I have a roommate who has started many problems within my group of friends, including our leaseholder who’s away for basic training for the National Guard. I was left with authority as a leaseholder. This roommate that is causing problems also has never paid rent on time and still owes for 2 months at least. Is a 3 day notice all that’s required? Or does she not even need notice, as she’s not on the lease? Either way, if she’s out of town for another week, is the notice effective immediately if given over the phone, and by text message?

Asked on April 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Iowa


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First and foremost, you need to be quite clear that the authority you were given as to act in place of the true lessor (landlord) is legally enforceable and almost to the point of being a power of attorney or limited power of attorney. Second, if the roommate is not on the lease but is your roommate and you are on the lease itself, you need to build the case. If the leaseholder (landlord) treated her as a tenant, there has to be proof she was a tenant (paying rent, paying utilities, being on the mailbox) and not simply your guest or a sublessee of yours. If she was, you should be going through the proper and legal ways of eviction (three day notice to pay or quit) and then eviction proceedings. Period. If you feel that no one treated her as a tenant and she has never paid rent, then contact the sheriff and see if the office is willing to have her removed immediately.

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