How to get a family member out of my grandparents home?

UPDATED: Sep 6, 2010

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How to get a family member out of my grandparents home?

My uncle who lives at the home of grandparents, has a gambling problem. We would like to know how to legally get him out of house. He does not pay any of their bills. He has lived there rent free for 13 years. I just need to know the correct steps in getting him out of house. 

Asked on September 6, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Alabama


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

A family member occupying your home may be considered a tenant regardless of whether a lease was signed or rent was paid if they paid for things like utilities or food. However, even if no form of rent has been paid, in some states, someone who enters your home and stays with your permission will be classified as a “licensee”. This status grants the family member more rights than just a guest. If the permission for them to remain on your property has been revoked, you will need to go through the steps of a formal eviction to have them legally removed.

The first thing that you must do is to you must first serve your family member with a notice to vacate (or “notice to quit”) the premises. This is a more formal way of asking the person to leave your home. The notice must be given before the suit is filed. In some juirisdictions this notice can be for a little as 3 days prior, in others as much as 30 days. Each state has its own rules regarding how and when to serve the notice as well. Be sure to follow all legally required steps. If your family member fails to leave by the requested date, you can file an action for eviction. If it is granted by the court a vacate date for the family member will be given. If they still refuse to leave in violation of the order, you can then call law enforcement and to have them removed.

You should speak with an attorney in your area to learn your state’s rules and local procedures. They can advise you on the correct legal steps required in your jurisdiction.

Note: Follow the law and don’t be tempted to use “self-help” measures such as changing the locks or physically removing the person yourself. You could delay the eviction and possible incurlegal liabiltiy of your own.

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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