How do I serve an eviction to a unofficial tenant?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How do I serve an eviction to a unofficial tenant?

My adult child lives in a home that I own. He does not have a lease or pay rent. Now I need to sell the home and need him to vacate. If he refuses, what is the process for making him vacate the home?

Asked on September 8, 2018 under Real Estate Law, New York


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If your son is not supposed to be paying rent, he is a guest and not a tenant. A guest may only remain so long as the property owner allows them to and that permission may be revoked at any time. If permission is withdrawn and the guest does not leave, they become a trespasser and the police can help remove them. However, sometimes they refuse to do this because if someone has been living there for some time or claims some right to live there, the belief is that this is a civil court matter so a judge should decide whether or not they can be made to leave. The legal remedy is called "ejectment" which is basically an eviction for non-tenants.That all having been said, if your son is supposed to pay rent (which can include paying utilities, groceries, etc.) then even if he not paid, then a tenancy has been created, in which case he would have to be evicted. Since this is a bit complicated, you may want to consult directly with an attorney in your area who handles landlord/tenant matters. Finally, take no self-help measures such a changing the locks or removing your son's belongings, as this can resut in an illegal eviction action being filed against you.

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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