Once you have settled on who to share your living quarters with, you should enter into a written agreement (the renter’s equivalent of a pre-nup) before you let him or her move in. Having a written sublease won’t completely eliminate the chance of court proceedings, but it will entitle you to a wider range of legal rights if things don’t work out. It’s especially helpful to draft this lease through your own landlord as that will essentially rid you of any renters’ rights’ obligations (and pre-empt any unwitting breach of contract, according to Paxton.)
Behren says that many prospective roommates are reluctant to enter into written agreements since most people like the idea they can get out of a lease if they want to. However, choosing to forgo this formality may force you to follow the same recourse Bentley ultimately did.
“I moved away,” he says. “Not long after, my friend returned. I don’t know what happened to [the roommate].”
Heidi Waterfield, a former New Yorker who also had a “roommate from hell,” echoed this sentiment. She dealt with her abysmal living situation by moving to California.
“My advice is don’t go through the stress of trying to kick [a roommate] out,” Waterfield says. “Just move yourself.”
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