Real Estate

My Roommate Won’t Pay Rent and Won’t Leave. What Can I Do?

Q: Two years in the past, my spouse and I obtained a roommate to share the rent-stabilized residence in Manhattan that we’ve lived in for 40 years. A 12 months in the past, he stopped paying lease for his room — he didn’t declare job loss or one other hardship, he simply refused to pay. We wouldn’t have a written settlement with him, so we requested him to maneuver out, however he refused. We employed a lawyer, however our declare couldn’t proceed as a result of he utilized for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and that case remains to be pending. He has tried to verbally intimidate me, and has periodically locked me out of my residence. The police have come a couple of instances however have taken no motion. What can we do?

A: Usually, in New York, if you need a roommate to maneuver out, you give him written discover — on this case 90 days, as a result of he’s been there for 2 years and also you wouldn’t have a written settlement. If he doesn’t comply, you possibly can take him to housing court after the deadline. However as a result of your roommate utilized for rental help, it’s important to await that case to resolve itself within the courts earlier than you possibly can proceed. So that you’re in a holding sample.

However this relationship is deteriorating into an unstable residing setting. “Sadly, in my 35 years of expertise as an lawyer, hostile habitancy preparations like this have a tendency to escalate from dangerous to worse,” mentioned Lucas A. Ferrara, an adjunct professor at New York Legislation Faculty and co-author of “Landlord and Tenant Practice in New York.”


As poisonous as the connection is, see if you happen to can negotiate a settlement. Contact a mediator, just like the New York Peace Institute, which gives free assist for New Yorkers in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The group might be able to allow you to and your roommate attain an settlement that restores calm in your house. You do have some leverage right here: He owes you a substantial sum of money for unpaid lease. You would supply to waive that debt and forfeit any likelihood to take him to small-claims courtroom later, if he agrees to maneuver out. Sure, you’ve misplaced cash, however authorized charges aren’t low-cost and your peace of thoughts is effective.

There are different authorized avenues to pursue. For those who and your spouse are involved on your rapid security, converse together with your lawyer about obtaining a restraining order, which can assist take away the roommate from the residence. Doc your interactions with him, and preserve any police information that you’ve, to assist bolster your declare.

And as quickly because the rental help case is resolved, hand him his discover to vacate.

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