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How To Handle Roommate Conflicts Legally

By | June 15, 2013

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roommate conflictWhen you rent out a room or share a house or an apartment with others, sometimes there is going to be a conflict. It’s the nature of people to not get along with each other at some point in time. Dealing with a conflict legally is the only way to settle with the roommate from hell!

When you’re the main renter or landlord, at some point you’ll have a roommate that will break all the rules, not pay their rent, and possible, make a disaster of the house or apartment. There are laws governing roommate and you don’t need a lease, but it’s safer if you have one. You can download a renter agreement from many websites, usually free of charge. Be sure you have the renter sign the agreement.

When things go bad, the roommate has more rights than the landlord or the main renter. Paying rent late or not at all is one small problem when you have a roommate. There can be conflicts about noise, damage to the apartment or house, inside and outside, and problems with paying their share of the utilities. Legally, the renter can stay for several months, even if they don’t pay.

You can’t just kick them to the streets. The law, in most states, say they can stay for 30 days or until they find a place. You might even have to visit the court house to get an eviction notice. Depending on the state, it can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 to evict someone from a property.  It doesn’t matter if they are paying rent or not, they have more rights than you do.

If you get the police to come out, you also have to pay them to evict the roommate. Having a renter’s agreement makes it easier to evict a roommate, but you still have to go through the legal channels. It may take several months before they move out.

First, you can try evicting them with a notice you write. Be sure it has the date, address, and the room they are using plus, the roommate’s name. Tape it to their door or put it in their hand. If possible, have a witness standing by; if they record it, it’s even better if you have to go through the legal channels.  Be sure to make copies of the notice. Some states require you to go through this step before you can file a legal eviction.

Trying to get rid of a roommate that is not living up to your standards is not as easy as you think, especially if they want to cause trouble. Hopefully, you’ll just be able to serve them the notice and they will leave. If not, you’ll have to pursue legal channels. 4

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