Renting and the law: Tenant wants landlord to help get rid of roommate

  • Article by: KELLY KLEIN
  • Updated: July 20, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Q: I have two tenants living together in an apartment I own. The young man is paying all the rent, and his female roommate has not been contributing at all. He would like her to move out, but she will not. They are on a month-to-month lease and both of them are named on the lease. He wants to know what he can do to get his roommate to move out. I am just trying to figure out how to handle this situation in the best possible way. I am getting the rent every month, so it hasn’t been an issue for me, but I would like to help him out. Could I give them notice that I am not renewing their month-to-month lease, thereby forcing her out? Then, I could draft a new lease for him. If she refuses to move out, what are our options? I have not yet had to deal with this type of situation so your advice on how to handle it would be helpful.

A: When there is no lease violation and the rent is being paid on time, a landlord doesn’t have the right to evict someone. However, a landlord always has the right to refuse to renew a lease, so long as the decision not to renew isn’t made for an illegal reason such as retaliation or discrimination.

Your best option is to give them a notice to vacate. You can always decide to offer one or both of the tenants a new unit, or the right to stay on.

However, if you offer the young man the right to stay, what happens if his female roommate decides to stay on? You could then pursue an eviction action against her, but most courts don’t like to get involved in these roommate spats.

In addition, the couple may get back together after you have filed the eviction action, and then you are out all of that money. Or, he may have someone else move in and then ask you to evict her later on.

The best option is to just give both of them the 30-day notice to vacate and don’t get involved in their personal life.

Kelly Klein is a Minneapolis attorney. Participation in this column does not create an attorney/client relationship with Klein. Do not rely on advice in this column for legal opinions. Consult an attorney regarding your particular issues. E-mail renting questions to kklein@kleinpa.com, or write to Kelly Klein c/o Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488. Information provided by readers is not confidential.

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