How to force someone out of your house?

I live with my girlfriend. Her youngest son is now 17, will turn 18 next month, and currently is living with us. Over the past 3 years we have had a variety of problems with him, mostly related to drug usage. When he turns 18 it is our intention to force him out of our house. If he refuses to leave, what legal steps can we/do we need to take?

Asked on November 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Once he turns 18, he will be an considered to be an adult in the eyes of the law; at that point you can evict him. Also, if no rent or form of rent was/is being paid, he is not a tenant but rather what is called a "licensee". That is someone who was invited to come onto the premises and stay (i.e. long term guest). Now that this permission has been revoked, in order to legally remove him from the premises you must serve him with a notice to quit (typically 30 days). If he fails to leave by the specified date, you will then have to file an eviction lawsuit, known as an "unlawful detainer". Once a court issues an order to vacate, you can have him removed from your home, by the sheriff if necessary.

In the meantime time do not undertake such measures as changing the locks or removing his belongings. You can be sued for unlawful eviction if you do. These kind of self-help remedies have no place in a legal eviction.

At his point, you should consult directly with a real estate attorney in your area who specializes in landlord-tenant matters.

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