I have had some truly terrible roommates in my time. One former roommate once got angry, broke a handful of glass objects on my bedroom fireplace mantle, and then later told me that a ghost had done it. (Yes, I'm serious.) And while it's unlikely that you will ever have a roommate blame her rage blackouts on ectoplasm, you might run into some equally bad roomies - like ones that don't pay the bills. Fortunately, you can kick them out without wrecking your lease. Here is how to do it.
Know Your Options
Your first stop is your lease agreement. This will tell you what options you have for getting rid of a bad roommate. For example, my lease agreement said that I could get a subletter or have one tenant move out without breaking the lease. Reading that, I knew I had a leg to stand on.
Figure Out Your Finances
I know firsthand how tempting it is to scream, "Get out!" without really thinking about next month (or the month after,) but you need to know what you can afford before you make any rash decisions. If you can't afford to cover all of the household expenses and rent on your own, make sure you line something else up first.
Find Another Roommate
If you can't afford the apartment on your own, your next step is to find another roommate. Look for someone you think you'll get along with who can pay for their fair share of the bills. In my case, I found another roommate by posting an ad in my local coffee shop.
Talk to Your Landlord
Once you have a plan in place, clear it with your landlord. Your landlord will likely want to run a background and credit check on your new roommate and she will have to sign the lease agreement. Make sure all of this can happen before you make your final move.
Talk to Your Roommate
Your last step is to ask your roommate to leave. I was fortunate because my roommate was already struggling financially and wanted to move back in with her parents, but you may not be so lucky. Set up a time to discuss your problems with your roommate honestly, and be sure to give them plenty of time to make other arrangements. At least 30 day notice is preferable.
Depending on the situation, you may have to return a portion of the security deposit back to your roommate. However, make sure the next person moving in agrees to pay half of the security deposit so that you don't end up paying for any damages by yourself.
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