How do we make my girlfriend’s daughter move out of her townhouse?

She owns a townhouse. Her daughter and 2 granddaughters live with us. There is no lease. What steps are need to force the daughter and children to move out?

Asked on November 4, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If her daughter pays rent (or a form of rent such as utilities, etc) then she can be considered to be a tenant, whether or not there is a formal written lease. If does not pay rent, then she is a "licensee" (i.e. long term guest). Either way, your girlfriend will need to serve her daughter with a notice to quit the premises (typically 3-30 days). After that, if she remains beyond the specified date for her to leave, your girlfriend can file an eviction lawsuit (i.e. an "unlawful detainer"). Once the judge issue an order for the daughter to vacate, she must do so; if she doesn't your girlfriend can have the sheriff come and remove her daughter and grandchildren if necessary.

Since the eviction process requires following strict procedures, you really should consult with an attorney in your area who specializes in such cases.

Note: In the meantime do not attempt any self-help remedies such as removing her belonging's or changing the locks. Your girlfriend can find herself in legal trouble if she does.

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