Living in close proximity with someone means it’s natural to bump heads from time-to-time. Especially if you’re sharing a tiny NYC apartment. But in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, tensions can get even higher. You may be at a point where you feel like you’ve tried everything. Maybe you’re considering telling your roommate you’re moving out. Or maybe things are so bad that you think you need to evict your roommate. Roommate agreement be damned!
Whatever the reason, being able to finally cut ties can come as a huge relief. But before you get ahead of yourself, have you looked into legal (and moral) recommendations? Here’s what you need to know about evicting a roommate in NYC while the city battles coronavirus.
Do the NYC moratorium on evictions apply to you?
Most of us have spent 2020 figuring out the lockdown rules in NYC put in place because of COVID-19. If you’ve wanted to evict your roommate for a while, you’re already aware of the city’s moratorium on evictions. If you’re not, don’t worry, we’ll give you a brief rundown. It’s basically a movement that prevents landlords from evicting tenants in both residential and commercial properties. And it has been extended until August 20th 2020.
The measure was put in place to support renters experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. It’s a way to make sure renters don’t end up being homeless if they can’t afford to pay rent right now.
But, if you’re not a landlord and are just sharing a property with another roommate in NYC, does this no-eviction rule apply to you?
Can leaseholders evict roommates?
The current circumstances are uncertain for everyone. With new laws governing the rental market in all areas, both tenants and landlords are unsure about their rights. For that reason, we recommend reaching out to your building’s tenant association or a lawyer if you want to evict your roommate.
Remember that the person on the lease is the one with the rights, so if you’re both listed, you might have to battle it out and come to an agreement on who will be the one to leave. If you’re the one on the lease, you might be able to evict your roommate with ease- but again, check this with another source.
According to the Metropolitan Council on Housing, you have to have a good reason to evict your roommate. You can’t evict them if-
- They’ve lived in the apartment for 30 days or more and have paid you rent.
- If you have a written roommate agreement with them that includes the length of time they’ll live with you.
An exception can be made if they’ve breached the rules of the roommate agreement. Or if you can prove they’ve turned into a crazy roommate that you just can’t be around.
Before you evict your roommate, explore other options
During this weird, stressful time, tensions can run high – we get it. If you can, try to talk things out with your roommate and see if you can cut each other some slack. Don’t try to evict your roommate right off the bat.
We can think of so many reasons to avoid evicting someone right now:
- It’s a scary world out there at the moment. Evicting your roommate might put them in a very stressful situation. Searching for a new apartment right now has the added stress meeting people that could have come into contact COVID-19.
- If you’re the leaseholder, paying the rent is your responsibility. Could you afford to cover the rent of another person if they were to move out?
- The city’s housing courts are currently only open for essential services. So, you’d have to wait if you need to resort to legal eviction proceedings.
Trying to evict your roommate should be your final option. It can be very unethical to put someone in a situation where can’t practice social distancing. And it’s impossible to find a new apartment without comin into contact with other people. NYC already has the most cases of homelessness out of any city in the US. You should try your best to not put another person the position of being homeless in the middle of COVID-19. Instead, try talking out your problems. Recognize that your relationship with your roommate are probably worse because of the intensity of lockdown. But if there’s no other option but to evict your roommate, give them sufficient notice.
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