Can I change the locks on a house guest?

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Can I change the locks on a house guest?

My husband and I let his idiot friend move into our spare room. The friend hasn’t paid a dime and it’s been 9 months. He agreed to pay a share of utilities and that never happened. He’s been gone for 3 months and all his stuff is still here but he won’t come get it until he’s ready (according to him). The friend is legally on the lease with his girlfriend as of the 1st of next month. He legally had his address changed here but I know on the 1st he has a 10 day window he has to legally change his address to hers. Can I change the locks on the 1st? Can I do it now?

Asked on October 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

From what you have written you have more than a "guest", you have a tenant. Under the laws of all states in this country you cannot use self help to remove a tenant from your premises. Rather you need to go through the legal process of serving the friend with a thirty (30) day notice of termination and if does not vacate in the time period, you file an unlawful detainer action against him.

I suggest that you consult with a landlord tenant attorney for assistance on this matter.


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