Having a roommate can be awesome! From helping you to save money to becoming a good friend and making your home a more enjoyable place to be, you hit the jackpot when you find a good roomie. But when things go wrong, it can feel like hell. Unfortunately, you can’t just evict a roommate in California. In some cases, it’s not possible to do so at all.
It all comes down to your unique situation and what your roommate may have done. If you do have a good reason to evict a roommate, you have to know how it works. You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law, even though you’re in the right.
What Kind of Roommate Can You Evict?
If your roommate is on the lease agreement with you, then they only answer to your landlord. Even if your roommate is not on the lease but pays rent directly to your landlord, you still cannot evict them. Even if they’re guilty of roommate harassment, the best you can do is report them to the landlord. However, your landlord can’t evict anyone without a just cause, such as causing damage or refusing to pay rent.
If your roommate is a subtenant (meaning you sublet your apartment out at a cost), then you can evict them. Of course, you still have to follow due process as your landlord would.
If you have a guest that has stayed in your apartment for more than 30 days, then they have become a ‘tenant at will’ and you can’t just throw them out, either.
How Do You Evict a Roommate in California?
Any eviction process must begin with a written notice according to the tenancy law in California. The notice must specify how many days the tenant has until you will terminate the tenancy. If there’s a reason for the eviction, you must also specify this in the notice.
If the culprit had signed a written sublease agreement with you, and there is a just cause, three days quit notice will suffice. If the person has stayed with you for up to a year, even without a lease agreement, you must provide a rent notice of at least 60 days. If it is less than one year, you’ll need to give at least 30 days’ notice.
Either you or your agent must serve this notice of eviction, in line with the law. If you choose to evict a roommate without sticking to the roommate’s law in California, your case may get thrown out of court.
How do I know if I have a good reason to evict?
You need a good, approved reason to evict your roommate in California, but there are some ways you can get rid of a bad roomie according to the roommate law in California. If, for example, you are pursuing eviction and plan to give 30 or 60 days’ notice, you don’t need to provide a good reason. However, if you’re aiming to evict someone within a shorter time frame, then you need to be able to justify your position.
If you’re subleasing to a roommate, you can evict them in California much more quickly – especially if there’s a history of bad behavior. Specifically, you can evict with only three days notice and have the backing of the law to pursue eviction if your roommate is guilty of any of the following:
- Refusal to pay rent
- Violating the lease agreement in any way
- History of roommate harassment
- Damaging the property and utilities
- Disturbing other tenants
- Using the unit for an illegal activity
Make sure you have a reason before expelling anyone from your apartment. The law mandates that eviction shouldn’t be a way to retaliate or discriminate against an individual.
What If My Roommate Refuses to Leave?
So you’re tired of your roommate and even after serving them notice, they won’t budge. What can you do? You certainly can’t just change the locks on the door. You’ll end up with a fine.
If you’re evicting your roommate for a just cause and they rectify their behavior, they can stay. For example, if your roommate decides to pay all owed rent, you’ll have to accept the rent and move on. However, if they’re still being difficult, you can move forward with the eviction.
In that case, if the notice period expires and the roommate doesn’t budge, you must file paperwork in court to start an unlawful detainer suit against your roommate.
Once in motion, your roommate may choose to respond to the court in an attempt to fight the eviction. Nonetheless, the court will set a trial date within 20 days from when you get the notification. Usually, it’s a judge-only trial. If you win the case, the sheriff will give your roommate a notice of five days to move out. If they need to stay longer, they can file a stay of execution with the court to request more time.
Find your perfect roommate
Every human must be treated with dignity and evicting a roommate in California without cause just can’t happen. However, if your life is in danger, go right ahead and evict that roommate. Consequences can wait.
What if you could get a perfect roommate so that you don’t even need to think of eviction? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, Roomi can help find your perfect new roommate.