How to Evict a Roommate Not on Your Lease in Tennessee

By Rebecca Sims
All roommates -- even those not on a formal lease -- are considered tenants.

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To formally evict a roommate who is not on your lease in Tennessee you must go to court. There are no specific Tennessee statutes or local laws that outline exactly what to do when you want to evict a roommate who is not a party to the lease. But, common law states that a person who has occupied a house or apartment for more than 30 days possesses all the rights of an "official" tenant. You cannot evict a roommate yourself. Your landlord must follow the legal guidelines for eviction in Tennessee.

Talk to your roommate and try to work out any issues you have before you resort to legal remedies. If the roommate has violated any provision of the lease for the property, you are equally responsible with the roommate for the violation. This is true even if the roommate is evicted. If the roommate has not paid rent and is evicted, you are still responsible for the unpaid rent. Make every effort to remedy the situation before you get your landlord involved.

Ask your roommate to leave voluntarily. The simplest way to evict someone quickly and easily is to ask them to vacate. Be reasonable and give the roommate time to make other arrangements. Keep in mind that your roommate has all the rights of a tenant even if he has not signed a lease.

Contact your landlord if you want to begin eviction proceedings against a roommate who is not on your lease. In Tennessee, you cannot act as a landlord and evict a roommate on your own. Your landlord is the only person who can initiate lawful eviction proceedings. Be aware that the proceedings, once begun, may or may not affect you and your lease. If your roommate has paid rent and occupied the unit for more than a month, he is considered a co-tenant. What affects a co-tenant may affect you and your lease.

Do not take any actions, such as confiscating property, locking a roommate out or cutting the roommate off from essential services, like the kitchen or bathroom. These are illegal actions and cannot be done by you or the landlord during eviction proceedings.

About the Author

Rebecca Sims is a librarian and educator, specializing in law, health sciences and education. She teaches classes in legal research, information technology, patient education, cataloging and digital asset management. Sims holds a Bachelor of Arts from the Academy of Art College and a Masters in library and information science.