What can I do to remove a joint tenant when they are breaking the lease and I am not?

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What can I do to remove a joint tenant when they are breaking the lease and I am not?

Roommate is trashing her room in addition to keeping cats in there that are not allowed on the lease. I knew about them from the beginning and told her it was on her head, but I am now worried that I could be evicted also if landlord finds out. I have also found things missing which she claims not to know anything about (but later turned up in her room). She agreed that I would be the primary tenant and she would rent from me, but that is not how the landlord wrote the lease and her name ended up on it as well. I didn’t realize this would be an issue when signing it. What can I do?

Asked on March 4, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Talk to your roommate and see if they would be agreeable to moving out.  You can then get another roommate if you choose (and if your the agrees. Otherwise, since both of you are on the lease, then you are both legal occupants of the premises.  In such a case, only a landlord has a right to evict one of the tenants.  Since your roommate has actually violated a term of the lease (ie having cats), immediately notify your landlord. They can then file for an eviction. Just make sure that you are prepared because with your roommate gone, you will have to cover all of the rent until a new roommate can be found.  Also, you'll need to make sure that your landlord doesn't try to evict you both, which they technically could do since you are "jointly and severally" liable for carrying out the terms of the lease.


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