Is an eviction required in the event of domestic violence?

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Is an eviction required in the event of domestic violence?

My boyfriend and I got into a horrible argument last night. I ended up slapping him very hard after he called me vulgar names, and he then attacked me – strangled, threw me, and slapped me, after proceeding to threaten me. He has been living at my house, which I own, for over a year and a half, and pays rent about 6 months in advance. However, we have no written lease. He has payed rent through next January. Am I legally allowed to kick him out if I am in fear for my life, or do I need to go through a formal eviction process?

Asked on October 22, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The only way to get anyone out of a home--especially if they have been paying rent, which makes them a tenant (even without a written lease)--is by a formal eviction process; you cannot simply lock or throw him out. You should retain a lawyer immediately to:

1) being an eviction process

2) possibly get a restraining order

3) advise you as to whether you should press charges (very likely, you should; getting him arrested could also get him physically out of your home while you evict)

You may wish to also, even if it's your home, consider living elsewhere (and not telling him where) while you talk to the lawyer and take legal action. You might also wish to contact a battered woman's support group, both for practical advice and emotional support. Good luck.


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