Can You Evict a Roommate Who’s on the Lease?

Her share of the rent is always late—if it arrives at all. She’s noisy, she eats your food, and her friends are inconsiderate. Let’s face it: your roommate is a nightmare. If you’re already at the point where you’re wondering, “how can I evict a roommate that’s on the lease?” We’ve got answers for you.

There’s just one thing you need to know before we get started: If your roommate signed the same lease agreement you did, you can’t evict them yourself—not even if they stopped paying rent two months ago. However, just because you can’t decide whether your roommate gets evicted or not, doesn’t mean you can’t influence the situation.

Evicting a Roommate

The property’s landlord may still evict your roommate for breaking the lease in a variety of ways, including:

  • Not paying the rent or not paying the rent on time
  • Engaging in illegal activity on the premises
  • Violating an established policy, such as “no smoking” or “no pets”

Unless the lease-breaking activity in which your roommate engages is blatantly apparent, you may have to bring it to your landlord’s attention. Make sure you document all the lease violations thoroughly; and uphold your end of the contract to prevent this strategy from backfiring.

Keep in mind, going directly to the landlord with a complaint about a roommate is something of an interpersonal relationship “atomic bomb.” Accordingly, treat it as a last resort that follows a diplomatic effort to resolve the issues that exist.

Engaging in Roommate Diplomacy

One way to address the issues that prompt your desire for a roommate eviction is to have an open and honest talk that features:

  • Specific evidence or instances of any transgressions
  • An even-keeled temperament expressed with your “inside” voice
  • Clear examples of what changes you’d like to see (less noise after midnight, a certain level of cleanliness to discourage pests, fewer overnight guests, etc.)

When a Roommate Becomes a Threat

There’s one instance in which you should disregard roommate diplomacy, though. That is when a roommate has threatened you, either implicitly or explicitly, or committed a harmful action against you.

If any such scenarios arise, contact the police and get to a safe place immediately.

According to, depending on the state you’re in, your landlord may be able to issue something called an unconditional quit notice. These notices are used to legally compel a tenant to move out without a lengthy notice or eviction process.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, know that there are legal protections for tenants like yourself which can help you terminate a lease early and keep your abuser (and their friends) far away from you—both physically and digitally. If you’re unsure that what you’re experiencing is domestic abuse, check out this helpful page from The National Domestic Violence Hotline, and remember to always put your safety first!

Evict the Roommate from Your Life

If your roommate is annoying but not violating the lease, posing a threat to you, nor willing to compromise, you have one other option: evicting that roommate from your life.

Yes, this might require you to wait your lease out or break it ahead of time. Early lease termination laws vary across states but, here are a few general tips to help break your lease as smoothly as possible.

  • Provide your landlord with advance notice.
  • Offer articulate reasoning and any evidence for what’s compelling you to move (by this point, the landlord is probably aware of the issues you’re experiencing).
  • Be willing to negotiate the particulars of your leaving (maybe finding someone to replace you on the lease, or paying an extra month’s rent after you depart)

Don’t focus on the legwork required here. Instead, set your sights on how sweet your next place will be!

Let ApartmentSearch Help You Evict Roommate Problems

You’ve done your homework on how to evict a roommate who is on the lease. If you’ve decided you’re better off moving on and out—eviction or no eviction, can help.

Use to search for 1-bedroom and studio apartments (if you’re tired of roommates), or browse multi-bedroom apartments (if you’ve read and used this guide on how to interview roommates and pick the right ones).