How do I remove a family member who doesn’t want to leave the house?

My mom put her house into my name 3 years before she passed. I have a brother who didn’t pay anything the whole time that he lived there. Now he is not trying to leave.

Asked on October 7, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Since the house is in your name, as the legal owner you can evict your brother. He has no rights to stay in the home over your objection. Since he doesn't pay you rent (or presumably any form of rent such as utilities, etc.), he is not a tenant; he is a guest who has overstayed their invitation. Therefore, instead of filing for an "unlawful detainer" (i.e. an eviction for a tenant), you will need to file for an "ejectment" (i.e. an eviction for a guest). At this pont, you may want to consult directly with a local attorney. However, if you search online you may be able to look up the process for all of this in your state so you can file yourself. In the meantime, take no self-help measures such as changing the locks, removing his belongings, etc. Otherwise, he might sue you.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Since the house is in your name, as the legal owner you can evict your brother. He has no rights to stay in the home over your objection. Since he doesn't pay you rent (or presumably any form of rent such as utilities, etc.), he is not a tenant; he is a guest who has overstayed their invitation. Therefore, instead of filing for an "unlawful detainer" (i.e. an eviction for a tenant), you will need to file for an "ejectment" (i.e. an eviction for a guest). At this pont, you may want to consult directly with a local attorney. However, if you search online you may be able to look up the process for all of this in your state so you can file yourself. In the meantime, take no self-help measures such as changing the locks, removing his belongings, etc. Otherwise, he might sue you.


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