Can You Evict Roommates That Are Not on the Lease?

By Beth Griesmer
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Technically, only a landlord can evict a tenant who has signed a lease. However, there are some circumstances where an occupant of an apartment can be considered an equal tenant with those who have signed the lease.


A tenant gets a name on the mailbox.
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A person is considered a tenant of an apartment if she signs the lease. A person may also be considered a legal tenant if she has lived in the apartment more than 30 days, paid rent directly to the landlord or had her name put on the mailbox.


Only a landlord can evict a tenant.
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A landlord is the only one who can evict a tenant. If your roommate is a legal tenant you cannot evict her, even if her name is not on the lease. However, the landlord may evict one tenant and let other tenants remain.


Tenants may be evicted for failure to pay rent.
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A landlord must have compelling and documented reasons to evict a tenant, such as failure to pay rent.


Mediation can help resolve roommate conflicts.
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If your roommate is not considered a tenant but refuses to leave, perhaps your landlord can act as a mediator to help settle the dispute.

Other Options

Hire a lawyer.
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You may have to hire a lawyer to act on your behalf to help remove your roommate if he is not a legal tenant.

About the Author

Beth Griesmer’s writing career started at a small weekly newspaper in Georgetown, Texas, in 1990. Her work has appeared in the “Austin-American Statesman,” “Inkwell” literary magazine and on numerous websites. Griesmer teaches middle school language arts and science in Austin, Texas.