This article was posted on Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017

Q:  My tenant is requesting to add a roommate to her lease; do I have to allow my tenant to have a roommate?
A: First, you will need to review your lease or rental agreement with this tenant. As a landlord, you may include a clause in your lease or rental agreement that authorizes or prohibits your tenant from having a roommate.

If you allow your tenant to have a roommate, you should screen the potential roommate as you would any other applicant. If the prospective roommate does not qualify, then you may deny their application. If the prospective roommate qualifies, then you may request your existing tenant and the new tenant sign an addendum to your contract or execute a new lease/rental agreement.  Either option will ensure that the new tenant has the same right and obligations as the original tenant. 

Q: I’m a landlord and have three tenants on one rental agreement in my unit. One of the tenants is moving and wants his portion of the security deposit back. Do I have to return his portion of the deposit to the tenant?
A: The security deposit is to be returned when all occupants, under a lease or rental agreement, have vacated the premises. It is the tenants’ responsibility to find a solution in reimbursing the moving tenant.  However, if the landlord assigned the security deposit amounts individually on the contract, then the landlord would be responsible for the return of that amount when each tenant individually vacates. 

Q: My tenant has always had a lot of roommates to help him pay the rent. I allow him to sublet to two people at a time. He stopped paying the rent two months ago and now one of the roommates told me the original tenant moved out. What do I do?
A: The original tenant that moved did not give you possession of the property, therefore you are entitled to rent. You may serve the tenant with a three day notice to pay rent or quit and begin the eviction process as soon as possible. If you know the sub lessees’ names, then include them on the notice. You may also try to make an agreement with the sub lessees to move or enter into a new rental agreement and pay you the rent that is owed.

Q: I am a landlord and have a unit rented to one tenant. My tenant got a roommate and signed a sublease with them. Now, my tenant wants my help to evict the sub-lessee. Do I need to file the eviction?
A: No, when a tenant subleases a property, they are acting as landlord to the sub-lessee. The tenant acting as landlord would be required to file the eviction against the sub tenant. If the tenant is breaking your lease by having a sub-tenant or is breaching the lease in any other way, then you may evict both the tenant and sub-tenant. If you allowed the tenant to sublet the premises, then you may encourage your tenant to seek legal assistance with the matter.

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Attorney Franco Simone, of Simone & Associates and The Landlords’ Legal Center has been doing evictions for over 20 years.  He is also an adjunct law professor at the University of San Diego.  Mr. Simone’s office is open Monday- Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.-  Tel: 619-235-180, website: or email [email protected].