If your tenants refuse to vacate at the end of their lease, what do you do?

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If your tenants refuse to vacate at the end of their lease, what do you do?

I rented my house out to an elderly couple for a year without a lease. The year is up and they are giving me a hard time about leaving. How do I get them out? Do I send them a letter giving them 30 days notice? I told the tenant about 8 months ago that I would be returning next month. Last month when I spoke with the woman, she had not started looking for alternative living arrangements. When I spoke with her again this month she accused me of taking advantage of her, even though she was the one who suggested that there be no lease involved. What are my options? I am trying to get back into my house before school starts in 5 weeks months?

Asked on July 25, 2011 New York

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A "hold over" proceeding is one which is initiated to evict a tenant where non-payment of rent is not the main reason for the eviction; any written rental agreement must haveexpired.  The primary goal of such a proceeding is the removal of the tenant with no opportunity for the tenant to “pay and stay.”  Hold over proceedings generally take longer than non-payment proceedings to resolve. First a 30-day notice must be served by a non-party to the action (e.g. process server). And the wording of the notice must be exact. If the tenant fails to leave by the date provided, then you will need to file for an "unlawful detainer" in court (i.e. eviction proceeding). Once the court issues an order to c=vacate the tenant must do so or risk being physically put out by a sheriff.

All of this can get very technical. If the letter of the law is not followed your case will be thrown out (costing you more money and more time). You really should consult with an attorney who specializes in these matters. I will tell you though that you more than likely won't be back in your home in 5 weeks, so you should make temporary housing plans.


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