How do I get rid of a tenant who does not have a lease?

UPDATED: Oct 9, 2011

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How do I get rid of a tenant who does not have a lease?

My brother let his wife’s nephew live in our mom’s home after she passed away. There was not a lease. We have now sold the home and the nephew refuses to leave. What is our recourse?

Asked on October 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If he paid rent then he was a tenant; if not then he was a "licensee" (i.e. long term guest). In either event, at this point you will have to evict him as a "holdover tenant". This will require serving him proper notice (the time will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; it can range from 3 -30 days). If he remains after the date specified given for him to leave, then you will have to file an "unlawful detainer" action in court (i.e. eviction lawsuit). Once the court issues an order to vacate, if he still remains you can have the sheriff come and forcibly remove him if necessary.

In the meantime, do not attempt to change the locks, remove his belongings or the like. If you attempt any of the self-help remedies you may find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit for illegal eviction.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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