What legal consequences could I face for evicting a guest in my house?

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What legal consequences could I face for evicting a guest in my house?

My boyfriend and I are on the lease to a 1 bedroom apartment; his cousin came down to stay with us. She lives in the livingroomand pays partial rent. I wrote her a nice letter after her complaints of not having her own room and asked her to find her own place either within 16 days or she could pay next month’s rent and move at the end of the month. We offered to help her and were nice. However, she resorted to stealing his car keys and refusing to give them back for over 24 hours. I would now like to move her stuff all into the living room and evict her but want to make sure that I can.

Asked on October 16, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Since she also pays rent, she is a tenant or sub-tenant. Accordingly, you will have to go through a formal eviction to remove her. First, you will have to five her a 30 day notice to leave. If she remains, then you will have to file an "unlawful detainer" (i.e. eviction law suit) in court. Once the judge issues an order to vacate, she will either have to move out immediately or you can have a sheriff come and physically remove her if necessary.

In the meantime do not move her belongings, change the locks, etc. If you attempt any of these self-help measures, you can be in legal troubleyourself; she could sue for unlawful eviction. You should probably get some legal help with this.


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