Can my ex-boyfriend have the electricity shut off and kick me out of his house?

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Can my ex-boyfriend have the electricity shut off and kick me out of his house?

In May my boyfriend told my mom he was building her an in-law apartment onto his house. He then asked me to move in with him. We gave up our place and I moved in 07/01. On 07/23 he told me that he’s still in love with his ex-girlfriend. I get paid once a month and have no money until my pay comes in. He disabled the air conditioner here on Saturday and I received an e-mail from him telling me that the internet and electricity will be off Friday. I have called some local attorneys and they all agree it’s not legal but no one seems to know what I should do next.

Asked on August 4, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your ex-boyfriend for an illegal eviction, to potentially recover some monetary damages and also get an order to turn the air on, keep the electricity on, etc. "Self-help evictions"--just turning off services or utilities, or changing locks, etc.--is illegal.

However, this may only be a respite--i.e. a short reprieve. Ultimately, if it's your ex-boyfriend's house and you don't have an ownership interest in it, he will be able to evict you. If you've been paying rent, even informally, but contributing on a regular basis to utilities, taxes, mortgages, etc., it may be that you'd be considered a month to month tenant, in which case he'd first need to give you at least 30 days notice; otherwise, he can go straight to the eviction process, which usually involves just a few days notice before filing for eviction, after which eviction will usually occur in another 2 - 4 weeks. In short, while you can fight his current activities and may wish to, bear in mind that if he wants you out, it will just buy you a little bit of time.


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