What can I do if a guest refuses to leave my house?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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What can I do if a guest refuses to leave my house?

I have owned my house for 24 years; mine is the only name on the mortgage, deed and title. I have a man who stayed here as a house guest; he was never considered a tenant nor ever had a lease with me. I told him that he had 30 days to pack up and leave my house for good but he refuses to leave. I have already signed an agreement of sale to sell my house. This man has said to me that I am not going to be able to have anyone come into the house. This man has commented to me on more than one occasion that once I happen to walk out of my house, he will have 4 of his friends, all ex-cons, destroy things inside the house and to baracade themselves inside on the day the new owners come to take possession. I have told this man that he doesn’t have the right to not leave. I told him that I have to leave as well. However, he keeps saying to me that he is not leaving and has rights. This man believes that he can legally be a squatter. I am not abandoning my house; I am selling it. There are no rights to him to be a squatter. Is there anything that can be done to legally get him to leave or have him removed by the police? I tried to have him removed a few months ago when he was verbally fighting with me. However, the police told me that he had a pair of shoes here which shows that he has residence here. I kept saying that this man is not a resident or a tenant. The police wouldn’t take him out of my house. I refuse to get eviction paperwork because this man was never a tenant. I don’t want to give him any kind of paperwork thar may serve his plan of squatting. Can anyone help me?

Asked on October 18, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

He has no legal right to remain there if neither an owner nor a tenant; however, you have to remove him the correct way. If someone had been allowed to live or stay someplace, then they are not a criminal trespasser and the police will not get involved. Instead, you have to bring a civil (i.e. non-criminal) legal action (lawsuit) traditionally called an action "for ejectment" (it is possible your state has a different name for it). This is essentially "eviction for non-tenants" and results in a court order, enforceable by the sheriff or other law enforcement (who enforces it may vary by state) to remove the former guest. Based on what you write, you'll win this action since you do not describe anything giving him the right to stay there--but you have to bring the action and let the court remove him.
This kind of action is "technical" in that a minor paperwork or procedural error will force you to start over. You are strongly advised to retain an attorney to do this for you. Contact a landlord-tenant attorney: most of them know how to bring ejectment cases, too. (I do landlord-tenant law in NJ and I also bring ejectment cases, for example.)

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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