If my nephew has been living with my mother for over a year and doesn’t pay any rent or contribute to utilities, can she evict him?

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If my nephew has been living with my mother for over a year and doesn’t pay any rent or contribute to utilities, can she evict him?

He was not on her initial lease as a tenant. She has not received a new lease. My mom is 81 years young and my nephew is 22 years old. Now he has brought his girlfriend to live in the home as well. My mother has asked them to pay only $100 a month since he isn’t working. He has turned her basement into a studio that individuals come over to record rap music in. He indicated to my mom that she couldn’t put him out. Can she?

Asked on December 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Since your nephew is supposed to be paying rent, he is a tenant (or in this case a "sub-tenant; your grandmother is his sub-landlord since she is on the lease and has the lawful right to occupy the premises). Therefore, like any other tenant, in order to now get him to leave your mother will gave to serve him a notice to quit the premises. If he fails to vacate by the date specified in the notice, she will then have to file an "unlawful detainer" action (i.e. eviction lawsuit). Once the court issues a writ of possession (or her state's equivalent), he will have to remove himself from her home. If he still refuses, she can have the sheriff remove him if necessary.

In the meantime nothing should be done to force him to go such as changing the locks or removing his belongings. Otherwise he could turn around and sue for illegal eviction.

Since all of this requires following strict legal procedures, your mother really should consult directly with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant maters. If money is an issue see if legal aid can assist her or if there is a law school legal clinic close by (most law schools run such clinics). Possibly the state department of social services can be of help. Additionally, many county bar associations have lists of attorneys who will take such cases "pro bono" (i.e. for free). Finally, due to her age, see if there is an advocacy group for the elderly in the area that can advise her (frankly, his taking such advantage may constitute a form of elder abuse in which case other legal action can also be taken against him).


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