How to keep a family member from becoming a tenant?

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How to keep a family member from becoming a tenant?

My wife’s cousin is coming for a visit shortly. Every time we heard from her in the past it was for us to give her money. If we require her to sign a document saying that she will leave the premises if we ask her to is it a legal document that can be enforced by the sheriff without going through an eviction process?

Asked on October 19, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, a tenant is someone who pays rent, either in cash or in kind (e.g. doing chores). Someone who resides at a home who is not a tenant might still have to evicted to get them out if they won't leave voluntarily, but they will generally have less rights than a tenant, so the first thing is, don't accept anything as rent from her.

The sheriff will not enforce the document you describe--sheriff's only evict per the actual eviction process. If you are worried she will not leave, you have to not let her stay at your home. Perhaps paying some, or even all, of the cost of a motel for her visit (assuming it's only for a few days), stating that you just want your privacy, you're sick, you're working extensively at home and need time to get work done (whatever you think is a credible excuse) might be the best course of action.


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