How do we take possesion of property?

We have a home that was owned by my father. He passed away. The only other person on the title is my Mother. They are divorced, but my mothers name is on title. From what know his girlfriend and other people lived with him and are still there. Do we need to go through and eviction process to get them out of the home?

Asked on October 2, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You indicate that your mother and late father had both been on the title. If they owned it as joint tenants (the most common way for most couples to own), then it became hers solely on his death. That means that as the owner, she can remove any unwanted guests (anyone living there who had previously had permission, such as from your father--e.g. his girlfriend--and who are not rent-paying tenants) at will. To remove them, she sends them a written demand to leave by a certain time (sent some way or ways she can prove delivery); if they don't go, she can bring a legal action, commonly called an action for "ejectment" or to "quiet title," but your state may have a different name for it, in which she asks the court to issue an order, enforceable by law enforcement (e.g. the sheriff) to remove them. This kind of action is not complicated per se, but it is "technical" in that if you don't provide the write initial written notice or enough time to move, or violate one or more procedures, the legal action will be dismissed "without prejudice" and you will have to start over. Therefore, your mother should retain an attorney to help her; a landlord-tenant attorney is a good choice, since they typically do these cases as well as the more traditional nonpaying tenant evictions.

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