Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Roommate Issues ( No Answer,   7 Comments )
Subject: Roommate Issues
Category: Family and Home > Home
Asked by: binnorie-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 02 Oct 2006 07:02 PDT
Expires: 01 Nov 2006 06:02 PST
Question ID: 770135
I'm in the unfortunate position where I may have to evict my roommate.
 He and I have no agreement and I am the only tenant of record.  I
live in Park Slope in Brooklyn, NY 11215.  I have signed a legal
sublease with the primary tenant of this space.

I have chosen not to renew my sublease here.  The sublandlord had my
roommate apply to put his name on a new lease so that he can remain,
but he refused to supply enough information to prove his financial
stability and therefore the sublandlord has denied this to him.  I
therefore sent my roommate an email informing him that he will have to
vacate the apartment when the lease ends on December 1st, 2006.  He
verbally acknowledged that he received my email, but he is refusing to
speak or email with me, so the acknowlegement was a simple 'yes, I got

Since then he has not paid me October rent.  Today is only October
2nd.  Perhaps he will leave me a check today, but he has always paid
me ahead of time and so a red flag has gone up.

I have tried to help him convince the sublandlord he would be a
responsible tenant, but his refusal to supply the sublandlord with the
proper information has left me looking irrisponsible for having
accepted him as a roommate.  He will not provide the sublandlord with
his social security number (for a credit check) or his work history. 
He currently has no job and lives on his savings, but refuses to
provide any proof of his savings nor any proof that he could get a job
that would pay enough to allow him to pay the rent.  He provided his
girlfriend's current income and work history, but she clearly does not
make enough money to pay the rent for this space.  The sublandlord has
sent him an email indicating that he did not provide sufficient
information, and my roommate did not respond.

If he does not move I will be liable for the rent and liable for any
fees my sublandlord has to pay for any eviction proceeding (I'll have
to double check my sublease for details).  If I do not pay the rent,
my parents, who signed on as guarantors, will be responsible.  I would
perform an eviction proceeding myself, but I'm not finding any law
firm/lawyer online who can do this for me.  I am also not finding
anything online about my rights, only information about my roommate's

It is not my fault he has to leave; I have no choice in this matter. 
I have tried to help him, but he has obstinately refused me.

When he moved in he paid me a deposit equivalent to one month's share
of rent.  I opened up a non-interest bearing checking account in my
name to hold it for him.

What are my rights?
How can I evict him should the need arise and how long will proceedings take?
If he does not pay rent, can I use his deposit to cover his portion
without his permission?
How responsible is he for paying rent?  Can he get away with not paying?

There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Roommate Issues
From: daniel2d-ga on 02 Oct 2006 22:24 PDT
Immediately institute eviction proceedings against your roommate. 
Send him a certified letter/return receipt requested terminating his
lease.  Don't rely on e-mail (no proof he really got it).  Try a free
legal clinic at a law school. Contact the bar association for someone
doing pro bono work.
Subject: Re: Roommate Issues
From: cynthia-ga on 03 Oct 2006 15:23 PDT
I agree, you need to begin immediately.  The fact October rent is
unpaid allows you to begin. This could be a nightmare. To see how bad
it *could* get, rent theis film:

Pacific Heights
It's a bit over the top, but many of the rules cited are true, --this
film will motivate you.
Subject: Re: Roommate Issues
From: cynthia-ga on 03 Oct 2006 15:23 PDT
theis = this (sorry)
Subject: Re: Roommate Issues
From: scubajim-ga on 03 Oct 2006 17:07 PDT
Get a probono lawyer.  If you don't have a written agreement and his
name isn't on the lease then have the landlord change the locks and
put his stuff outside.
Subject: Re: Roommate Issues
From: jack_of_few_trades-ga on 04 Oct 2006 06:24 PDT
I wouldn't be all that hasty.  October rent was 1 day late (normally
due on the first).  If it is still late, it's still less than a week.

He is your roomy and can't completely shut off communication.  Knock
on his door, catch him in the kitchen... If you really never see him
(which I find hard to believe unless he almost solely lives with his
gf), leave a note on his door saying that you really need to get the
rent from him by X date or you will have to start the legal process.

Jumping into a lawsuit is the American way these days, but that
doesn't make it the right way... or even the best way.  Be firm but
friendly, I think he will come around and pay you the rent.
Subject: Re: Roommate Issues
From: cynthia-ga on 05 Oct 2006 02:56 PDT

The asker lives in New York. NY has extremely stringent laws regarding
tenancy. The rent may be only 5 days late (today), but it could take
months to get him out, --MONTHS-- ... In NY, when one establishes
"residency", it is virtually impossible to get someone out.  I stand
by my advice to start immediately.
Subject: Re: Roommate Issues
From: jack_of_few_trades-ga on 05 Oct 2006 05:52 PDT
The time it takes to kick someone out should not affect when you start
the process in most cases.  Sure, NY residency laws are bad... but 5
more days is 5 days regardless of how long the process takes.

In thise case, there is little evidence to support the idea that this
tenant has no intention of paying any more rent.  If you start the
process to kick him out, then it is much more likely that he will pay
$0 over the next couple months that it takes to kick him out.  If you
are diplomatic and reason with him, there is a good chance you will
get what is due and he will move out when requested.

If diplomacy costs you 2 weeks before the process starts, then at
worst you will end up paying rent an extra month more than you would
have otherwise.  Is that worse than not collecting 3 months worth of
his rent, having a good chance of his cooperation when it's time to
move out, and the hassel of the legal process?

I stand by my advice to take the diplomacy route for a week or 2 and
then start the process after giving him fair warning.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy