How do I get my ex-live-in-boyfriend to leave my homeif he refuses?

UPDATED: Sep 7, 2011

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How do I get my ex-live-in-boyfriend to leave my homeif he refuses?

My boyfriend and I have lived in NYC together for 10 years. We’ve broken up but he refuses to leave. I own my home; he has contributed nothing to either the mortgage or daily expenses and is on no paperwork. It’s become very heated. I’ve got to get him out but am not sure how. Does he count as a tenant since he’s never paid rent. I also heard he has squatters rights. Also, does he have “common” law rights after 10 years? I’m worried he might try to claim my possessions. If you could let me know my options and appropriate next steps it would be appreciated.


Asked on September 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Since your ex-boyfriend has not paid rent (or a form of rent such as utilities, etc.) he is not a "tenant". However, he will be considered to be a "licensee" (i.e. long term guest). Since he was invited to stay and live on the premises but that permission has now been revoked, you will need to remove in much the same way as if he were a tenant. Namely, a formal eviction proceeding (“unlawful detainer action”) will need to be filed.

Before suit can be filed, however, the occupant must first be served with a notice to vacate (or “notice to quit”) the premises. This is a more formal way of asking the person to leave the home. In NY in such a situation notice can be for as little as 10 days. Just be sure to follow all legally required steps for service. If your ex fails to leave by the requested date, an action for eviction can be filed. The court will issue an order of eviction and a writ of possession. The order will usually set a vacate date. If he still refuses to leave, law enforcement can then be called. They will remove him, using physical force if necessary.

Note: In the meantime, do not use any "self help" remedies. This means do not remove his belongings from the our home or change the locks. If you do, you could be sued for unlawful eviction.

At this point you should consult directly with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant cases.

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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