If my son just turned 18, can I changethe locks without notice or just verbally tell him that he no longer has access to my house?

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If my son just turned 18, can I changethe locks without notice or just verbally tell him that he no longer has access to my house?

He is still in high school. Now that he is 18 years old, he has decided he doesn’t want to follow rules. Can I simply change the locks on my house and deny him access to the home? Can I pack and move all his belongings to the outside? Can I give him verbal notice or does it have to be in writing?

Asked on February 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Once your son turned 18, legally he became an adult in the eyes of the law. Accordingly, at that point, he became a "licensee".  That is someone that the owner of a premises invites to stay.  Now that permission to remain has been revoked, the lawful way (at least in most jurisdictions) is to give a 30 day written notice to vacate.  If your son fails to leave by the end of that time you will need to file a formal eviction (i.e. "unlawful detainer" action) in court. In the meantime, don't lock him out or remove his belongings, otherwise you could be sued for unlawful eviction.

Note:  If he has put you or another occupant in fear for your/their safety, then you should contact the police.  They can legally remove him immediately.


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