How do I evict someone who I was selling my house but quit making payments?

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How do I evict someone who I was selling my house but quit making payments?

I was selling property to a lady with intent to be paid in full within 2 years. Now it’s been 3 1/2 years and she quit making payments but is still living in the house.

Asked on August 22, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Assuming the title is still in your name (not yet transferred to her), then depending on the exact nature of the agreement you had with, you:
Evict her for nonpayment of rent, if this was a rent-to-own situation; in that case, she was a tenant failing to pay and you can evict any tenant who fails to pay rent. A landlord tenant attorney can help you send out any notices required and bring the action. A case like this should be straightforward for a landlord tenant attorney, and you are strongly advised to retain one: I practice landlord-tenant law in a different state (NJ) and I have seen many landlords fail to evict because they make a procedural or technical mistake. Landlord-tenant law can be tricky if you don't know the procedures.
If this was not rent-to-own, but you were letting her live there gratis while she paid for the house (i.e. no part of her payments was rent; it was all for the house), then you have to "eject" her as a guest. Ejectment (that is the traditional name; your state may have a different name for it) is the legal procedure to remove a person who is not a rent-paying tenant but whom you voluntarily allowed to reside in your property. It accomplishes the same thing as evicting a tenant, but the procedure is different. Again, a landlord-tenant attorney can do this with/for you.
BUT if you already transfered title to her, you can't remove her from the home UNLESS you actually gave her a "private mortgage" for the home (basically, you acted as the bank) and that mortgage includes the right to foreclose (and that's what you'd have to do: foreclose) in the event of nonpayment AND was properly filed with the county. Only with a mortgage can you recover property in the event of nonpayment. 
If you transferred title and not structure it so that you gave her a mortgage, all you can do is sue her for the money she owes you--you can't take back the property for nonpayment. If the amount is over $10k, you'd have to sue in regular county court, not in small claims.
 


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