How to evict a guest who will not leave?

I have a friend who’s mother moved in with her 2 months ago. Her mother had a surgery scheduled and said she would move out after that was done. She has refused to move or look for a place. She doesn’t pay rent and there is no formal lease. How would my friend go about evicting her?

Asked on November 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In this instance, your friend's mother will be considered to be a "licensee'. In most states, that is someone who was invited on to the premises to stay for more than 30 days or so days. That being the case, even though no rent (or presumably any other form of rent such as utilities,etc.) is being paid, she will still be afforded the same rights as a tenant as to the legal requirements to be met regarding the termination of her occupancy. Namely, she must be served a notice to quit (usually 30 days). Then if she fails to vacate the premises within the specified timeframe, your friend will have to go to court and file for an "unlawful detainer (i.e. eviction lawsuit). Once the court issues her a "writ of possession" (or equivalent), if her mother still fails to leave, your friend can have a sheriff remove her from the premises if necessary. However, until that time, she should do nothing to force her mother to leave (i.e. change the locks, remove her belongings, etc). If she does, she opens herself up to a suit for wrongful eviction.

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