I am the only name on the lease and after 8 years my roommate situation is ending up VERY ugly. What right do I have to ask my roommate to move out? Do I need to give him 30 days to move out? He is making things very difficult and being extremely difficult. He is being very rude and argumentative! What are my legal rights?I HATE that it is ending this way! But my name is on the lease and I need some advice of how to proceed! Thanks, Mike

Ask Gothamist often sees the other side of this question - what can a roommate who isn't on the lease do? And the answer, really, is nothing. Roommate's who don't sign leases or written agreements of some kind have pretty much no legal rights. So, Mike, you are legally within reason to ask your roommate to move out without much notice. Unlike you, your roommate has signed no written agreement that guarantees him the right to stay put. It's a messy situation, but if it's really that bad, your best course of action is probably to tell him he has to move out. (With appropriate notice so that he has time for finding a new place, of course.)

A note to roommates: it seems prudent that all tenants sign the lease, lest messy situations arise later and one of you ends up homeless. If that's not possible, it's still probably a good idea to get something in writing with the roommate who is on the lease, spelling out what happens if the roommate relationship goes sour (or when a roommate gets married or has to move out suddenly, etc). It's hard to think that way when you first move in and everything is peachy keen, but, trust us, it's always a good idea to have some kind of arrangement.

See also the Rent Guidelines Board's roommate FAQ, with answers to a lot of your questions on roommates and leases. See also also Ask Gothamist on Roommates and The Ask Gothamist Guide to Real Estate, our compilation of renting and real estate questions.

And of course, if you've got a question, send us an email! ask (at) gothamist (dot) com.