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Tenants Who Have Unwanted House Mates Have Serious Legal Problems

Posted by Debi Rumph | May 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

Tenants can be great people.  For example, some tenants allow people to move in with them (“House Mates.”)  However, before doing so, tenants should consider whether they can, truly, afford to.  This is especially true when it's time to ask the Houses Mates to move out.  If the House Mates do not agree to move, it can cause all types of legal problems for the tenant.

Breach of Lease?

Many leases limit a tenant's ability to allow other people to move in.  Therefore, if the tenant's landlord finds out that a tenant has breached the lease, it can be legal cause to evict the tenant—along with the unwanted House Mates.  Therefore, if the tenant or House Mate file any lawsuits relating to the matter, the tenant's landlord may discover the legal activity and then, file an eviction.  Worse yet, a tenant's House Mates, if strategic, will include the tenant's landlord in any resulting lawsuit.

Therefore, before allowing House Mates to move in, tenants should ensure that they are not in breach of their lease.

Tenant or Not?

If a tenant calls the police to assist in removing the House Guests, the police will likely take no action.  Why?  Because they will likely conclude that this is a legal matter and advise the tenant to file a lawsuit.  However, for the reasons cited above, tenants should be cautious before filing a lawsuit.

Second, if a tenant decides to file a lawsuit, the first mystery will be figuring out what type of lawsuit to file.  For example, can the tenant file an eviction against the House Mates?  It depends.  On what?  Whether the House Mates are actually tenants.  What makes a tenant?  A person who “pays rent.”  However, this rent can be of anything of value.  For example, babysitting services can be considered a “rental payment.”

If the House Mates are not tenants, then, the tenant must file either an ejectment and/or unlawful detainer action.


Before allowing House Mates to move in, tenants should carefully consider whether they are willing to take the risk.  However, if the House Mates already reside in the rental home, tenants should attempt to negotiate the tenant out of the rental home before calling the police or filing any legal actions.  The Law Offices of Debi Rumph and her Tenant's Clinic charge reasonable fees for strategic solutions for the removal of unwanted House Mates.

Are you interested in getting help with House Mates? If you are ready to move forward—or if you have any questions about us or our process, email us at [email protected]text us, or call us at (407) 294-9959. Otherwise, we wish you good luck with your legal matter.

About the Author

Debi Rumph

The Law Offices of Debi V. Rumph and Debi's Tenant Clinic Corner About Us Since July 2005, The Residential Realty Law Firm provided a wide range of legal services as it related to home ownership. However, on July 1, 2012, The Residential Realty Law Firm became the Law Offices of Debi V. Rumph. Debi pr...


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