If I’m sharing my house with a roommate but haven’t asked her to pay for any rent yet,since I want to evict her does she has the right to refuse?

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If I’m sharing my house with a roommate but haven’t asked her to pay for any rent yet,since I want to evict her does she has the right to refuse?

There is no rental agreement and she does not pay me rent. Can I consider her as a guest rather than a tenant?

Asked on November 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If she has not paid rent or any for of rent (utilities, etc), then she is not a tenant. She is however what some states deem a "licensee"; that is someone who was invited onto the property to stay for a time. That being the case you will still need to give notice but instead of 30  days it can be for a little as 3 days (depending on the state). If she fails to vacate at the end of that time, then you will need to file in court; instead of an eviction (i.e. an "unlawful detainer"), you will be filing for an "ejectment". At such point as the judge finds in your favor, if she still remains on the property you can have a sheriff remove her if necessary.

In the meantime, do not attempt to get her out yourself, such as by changing the locks, removing her belongings, etc. You could find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit if you do.


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