How can a person who is temporarily in your home, and not on the lease, be evicted?

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How can a person who is temporarily in your home, and not on the lease, be evicted?

I let someone stay with me temporarily and now they will not leave. What can I do?

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First of all, did this person pay rent or were they at least supposed to pay rent to you (if so they are a tenant even if there was no formal writing)? Secondly, how long have they been there (if it has been less than 30 or so days you tell the sheriff that you have a trespasser)?

If there was no rental arrangement but they have been there for some longer period of time, then they will in most states be considered to be a "licensee". While this is not legally the status of a tenant, it does afford them some of the same protections under the law. Accordingly, they will need to be served notice to vacate (typically 30 days). If they fail to leave by the time specified then you will have to file an "unlawful detainer" (i.e. eviction lawsuit ) in court. Once a judge issues you a writ of possession then you can have the sheriff come come (they will have to since you will now possess a court order) and they will remove this person by physical force if necessary.

In the meantime don't undertake any self-help remedies such as changing the locks, removing their belongings, etc. or you could find yourself in legal trouble if you do.

At this point consult directly with an attorney in your area who specializes in landlord-tenant cases; they can best advise as you as to your rights and remedies.


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