Evicting a problematic roommate presents a number of unique issues. Having handled many roommate evictions over the years, Girling Law can help you either avoid these problems altogether or help you minimize these issues.
The “You Still Have to Live with This Person” Issue
The most complained of issue our firm runs across in roommate evictions is dealing with that awkward period of time our clients must suffer from the initiation of the eviction until the moment the roommate moves out (or is moved out). By hiring an attorney to handle your eviction, one of the best benefits you enjoy is making our firm the bad guy!
One of the first things our team will do for you is send your roommate a “Cease and Desist Letter.” In this letter, we are demanding your roommate stop all communications with you about the eviction process. You are now represented by an attorney. All communications about the legal issue MUST go through our firm’s attorney and staff. If your roommate is not honoring our Cease and Desist letter, you may reach out to us, and we can start issuing communications to your roommate about his non-compliance.
Alternatively, you may tell your problem roommate that you have paid your retainer, and the law firm has taken over the process. You no longer have anything to do with it. “Call my attorney!”
The Document Delivery Issue
There are traps with evicting a roommate. Some documents must be served directly to the tenant. Some documents must be served at the property address. In some instances, those documents need to be served directly to the roommate. In other instances, documents may be served on another occupant who is not named as the Plaintiff. After you hire us, our team will help you with understanding the differences.
The “Accidentally Evicting Yourself” Issue
If your eviction lawsuit is not worded properly, you could actually end up evicting yourself. Can you imagine having the Constable order you to move out all of your personal property outside to the curb because you didn’t understand this minor detail? Your roommate would love that…. Call Girling Law. We can help you not evict yourself!
The “Roommate Is Not on My Apartment Lease” Issue
Letting someone move into your apartment to help with the bills is tempting when times get tough. The problem is, your apartment lease will almost certainly require you to obtain the apartment’s written permission before you may allow your new tenant to move in. Ignore this term of your lease, and you may find yourself being evicted.
Remember, you are the tenant on a lease. This means you do not have the power to evict anybody. When it comes to evictions, tenants may only be evicted. Only the owner of the real estate has the power to evict.
If your new roommate starts causing problems, you could find yourself involved in a tense standoff. The good news is you can work your way out of this if you are smart about how you handle the situation.
Most leases in Texas permit tenants to have the occasional overnight guest. But what happens when your overnight guest whom you lawfully allowed into your home refuses to leave? In this situation, it cannot be said that you breached your lease agreement by allowing someone to “move in.” Is there a risk that your roommate might tell the apartment community that you did let him he could move in? Of course. But that creates a situation where it is merely his word against yours. No Judge can do anything about that. When it is one person’s word against another, that puts the scales of justice at the 50-50 mark. If the apartment wanted to evict you based on this set of circumstances, they would not be able to meet their burden of proof to tip those scales beyond the 50-50 mark. Your roommate trying to blackmail you by outing you to your apartment’s management office is likely to go nowhere.
When a situation like this occurs, you will likely find your apartment community is willing to let you pay for an attorney to evict your unwanted guest. Understand, however, it is illegal for an attorney to call your apartment to negotiate such an arrangement. Instead, you must work out this arrangement with your apartment. It is perfectly OK to offer to hire the attorney you would prefer to work with. But understand that your apartment may have another attorney with whom they have a long-standing relationship. Do not argue with them about this. Hire their attorney if they do not want to use the one you selected.