Do I have to go through an eviction process?

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Do I have to go through an eviction process?

I purchased my dad’s house about 2 months ago. He went to prison before i did however and his ex girlfriend moved into the house with out his permission or mine. She pays nothing and bills are not in her name. I have talked with her several times stating she needs to get out so I can work on the property. She refuses to leave though, even though she said that she was going to move at the time that I bought the house because she doesn’t want the police involved. So I scheduled people to come and work on it at the end of last month. As that approached, she wasn’t gone so I gave her a letter explaining that I needed her out in 14 days for the workers. She is still not out. I also received info from someone she knows that the power may be hooked up illegally. Do I need to go through the eviction process or can I just go in and change the locks?

Asked on April 11, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Since this woman entered wthout your permission, she is a squatter or tresspasser. You can call the police and ask them to remove her. However, if she has been on the property for a significant amount of time, the police may refuse to do so because at this point legally she may have attained the status of a "guest" or as a non-paying "tenant". If the former, then you will have to file for an "ejectment" action (like an eviction for a non-tenant) or an eviction (for a tenant). The exact procedure will differ depending on which action is filed and specific state law. Just be aware that you are not allowed to use "self help" methods to get her to vacate. This means that you cannot forcefully remove her; the police will do that once the ejectment/eviction is granted by the court. Therefore, in the meantime do not attempt to lock her out, remove her belongings, etc. or you could find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit. 


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