Do invited house guests acquire tenancy rights after a period of time, and what is the legal procedure for having a house guest leave?

UPDATED: Jul 26, 2011

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Do invited house guests acquire tenancy rights after a period of time, and what is the legal procedure for having a house guest leave?

Asked on July 26, 2011 Oregon


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A long term house guest (typically one that has been in residence a month or more) is considered under the law of most states to be a "licensee". Accordingly, now that permission for them to stay has been revoked, the lawful way to get them removed from the premises is to formally serve them with a notice to leave (it can range from3-30 days, depending on state law). If they fail to leave by the time specified, you will need to file for an "unlawful detainer" (i.e. eviction). If you win in court, then the judge will issue an order for them to vacate. If they still do not move, the sheriff can be called; they will remove the occupant physically if necessary.

Note: Until you obtain the court's order, do not take any self help measures such as changing the locks, removing the occupant's belongings, or turning off A/C or utility services to their part of the premises. If you do you could find yourself on the wrong side of a civil suit for wrongful eviction.

At this point, you just may want to consult directly with an attorney in your area who specializes in landlord/tenant matters.

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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