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It has happened to the best of us. A friend runs into some hard times. They find themselves homeless, and couch surfing. You agree to take them in until they can get on their feet. Weeks become moths, months become years and one day you wake up and realize that somewhere along the way you adopted a 35 year old child. They pay rent occasionally, but when they do it is late. They dirty every dish in the house and you spend hours every Saturday cleaning up the mess. You get the esteemed privilege of pulling their long blond hair out of the bathtub drain, one slimy chunk at a time. Suddenly it hits you... how much better life would be if this roommate just disappeared.
Before you call your local mafia hit man here is some information you might find useful.
If your name is on the lease, or better yet the mortgage you have all the power. You may feel as though your unwanted tenet is holding you emotionally and physically hostage but legally this is your home. If you feel that asking your roommate to leave is going to be unpleasant but doable make sure to write out a letter. I have included a short list of information that the letter should contain below, but remember you can generally buy a eviction notice form at most bookstores. Keep a copy of the letter in your personal files, in case things go wrong.
Make sure that the letter/form includes these items:
The legal and full name of your self and the tenant / roommate
The Legal address and description of the area you are asking them to vacate. i.e. 1840 Belvue Way, 80299 Denver Colorado, 3rd bedroom from the left.
The date you gave the notice, and the date you request the tenant to move out.
The requested move out date must be at least 30 days after the date of the notice.
If you have already tried simply asking the roommate or tenant to leave verbally or verbally and in writing, involving a eviction agency might be necessary. You might also want to use an agency if you roommate is verbally abusive and frightening you. Eviction agencies can be found on the Internet. Besides serving the notice, an eviction agency can also carry out the physical removal of the tenant with the help of the local sheriff. Having a notice of eviction delivered by an agency can be overkill because they generally report the notice to credit agencies and other rental affiliations. The tenant in turn will have a black mark that could keep them from renting for years. This should be reserved for only the worst tenants.
Now that you have served you eviction notice to the roommate, either personally or through a eviction agency: What do you do when the worst imaginable happens? The roommate / tenant takes that 30 days to cause as much havoc, damage, or to simply be as annoying as possible? Unfortunately unless there was a preexisting rental agreement there is little that you can do. I would recommend recording the damage with a camera or video. Every time substantial damage occurs call the police and file a report. If the roommate is simply stomping around, slamming cabinets and just being a big baby all you can do is grin and bear it.
If the roommate doesn't leave after the 30 day period, you may ask the courts to intervene and have the sheriff remove the tenant or the roommate. This process varies in some states, but the gist is that you fill out a “unlawful detainer form” this packet will include the letter of eviction, and any pictures, videos or police reports filed regarding the roommate. The court looks it over assigns it to the sheriffs office and within a day or two policemen will come and remove your X-roommate from the premises.
In Most states an exception can be made in the cases of violent or explicitly destructive persons the unlawful detainer form can be filed early, and the tenant can be removed early, but only in extreme cases. Either way you will want to make sure to have a record of the destruction, through photos and police reports and you will need a copy of the eviction notice.
Naturally, I am not an attorney and the preceding article should not be taken as legal advice. Each state has their own specific laws regarding eviction and you should look into the laws of your home state.