I did a favor for a friend by letting him work on my house for a few days and stay, he had no place to go…..now he won’t leave…

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I did a favor for a friend by letting him work on my house for a few days and stay, he had no place to go…..now he won’t leave…

There are a few things missing, he said he gave them away….one piece of furniture was spray painted, he let his son move in when I said NO one NO one is to be there, just him. Other items are destroyed also, my throw rugs were used under his truck to collect oil!!!How do I get him out and get my belongings back. He said no problem on returning what he gave away but I have yet to see much effort to return them and he won’t tell me the guys name so I can get my belongings back. What do I do….do I have rights? Also he doesn’t pay anything he is not renting!

Asked on June 21, 2009 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

It is your home. If you tell him to leave, he has to leave. If he doesn't, you can call the police and have them remove him as a trespasser.

Similarly, if he breaks your belongs, or gives them away (though more likely, he sold them--otherwise why doesn't he tell you the man's name? It's presumably because he doesn't want you to know they were sold, and/or doesn't want to split the money), he *has* to pay. If he refuses, in order to be paid, you may need to sue him. Note that if you retain a lawyer to sue him, it may cost you more than it's worth--this is one of the few times that representing yourself may make sense. (Call your town court, the clerk's office, tell them the value of what was taken or destroyed, and ask them which court you would bring an action in and how to go about doing so.) You also may choose to report your "friend" to the police for vandalism and/or theft.

Another option is to file a claim vs. your homeowner's insurance.

The one thing you can't do is collect rent--that would have to have been discussed and agreed to ahead of time. Though you *could*--if you choose to let him stay--demand rent going forward.

Note: you probably should not trust promises to pay from this fellow, and if you sue him, it sounds like he may not have any assets or money to collect from.

You best bet is probably have the police get him out of your home IMMEDIATELY, file a police report for theft and vandalism, file and insurance claim. This man is not your friend if he is doing this.


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