If we have a niece staying in our second home who pays just for the utilities but they are still in our name and there is no rental agreement, can we kick her out?

She pays no rent. Do I need to take legal action or can I move in and make her leave? She is only 19 years old and we have told her that if she defaces of causes distruction of the property she will have to leave.

Asked on November 11, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot just kick her out. The fact is that since she is paying the utitlites (whether or not in her name), that is considered to be a form of rent. Consequently a landlord-tenant relationship has been established. Accordingly, you will need to go through a formal evicition in order to have her removed from the premises. If you choose some form of self-help (i.e. changing the locks, ect.), you can open yourself up to a suit for wrongful eviction.
Right now you should consult directly with a real estate attorney who handles landlord-tenant cases. They can best advise you further as to your rights/remedie under specific state law.

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