We often receive emails from readers asking for help in navigating their own real estate crises. In Realty Bites, we try to get them answers.
"My roommate let a girl he met on Tinder move in with us after one date. (Apparently her current living situation fell through.) It's been a few weeks now, and her stuff's all over our living room. How can I kick her out, and does she have any rights to our apartment at this point?"
While your roommate's decision to let a virtual stranger shack up with you is bonkers, to be sure, your legal options here are fairly limited, and unfortunately, your best bet is diplomacy.
Assuming you and your roommate are both on the lease, "What's difficult is that one tenant doesn't have the right to evict the other tenant," explains attorney Catharine Grad. "Unless you have some written side agreement saying no one will be brought in, you don't have the ability to evict [your roommate]."
Technically, your roommate and his Tinder flame are violating roommate law, which stipulates that when multiple people are on the lease, you're only allowed to have roommates in the same number as people on the lease, says Grad. (In other words, if there are two of you on the lease, you can't have more than two people living there.) That said, if your end game is to stay in the apartment with your roommate and have his love interest hit the road, alerting the landlord to this violation—or suing your roommate—isn't exactly a wise course of action.
If you're the only one on the lease and your roommate is just a "licensee," or someone you've agreed to bring on as a roommate, "you do have the right to terminate a roommate's tenancy, and can seek to evict him and his little buddy," says Grad.
As for your unwanted new roommate, she doesn't have rights as a tenant, but as we've written in previous pieces on roommate dust-ups, resist the urge to throw her stuff on the street and/or change the locks. This could land you with a wrongful eviction case on your hands, and if she's been in the apartment for 30 days or more, you'll have to go through a formal eviction process to get her out.
Since all of these options amount to a considerable amount of hassle, try to nicely talk some sense into your lovestruck roommate, and see if you can get this Tinder grifter to leave of her own volition. It'll be awkward, yes, but easier than trip to court.
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