What can I do about evicting someonewho is not paying rent and who does not have a lease?

UPDATED: Mar 8, 2012

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What can I do about evicting someonewho is not paying rent and who does not have a lease?

My niece has been living in my mother’s house for the last couple of years without paying rent. My mother has decided to sell the place and has asked my niece to leave. We got the cops called on us as we were documenting the stuff she was taking (my mother has stuff in the house also). We were told that my neice had established residency and that we were not allowed to be there while she took her stuff. She has not gotten all of her belongs out yet and we need to know what we need to do to make sure that she only takes what is hers.

Asked on March 8, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The police appear to be incorrect--an adult (is your neice and adult? If she is a minor, different rules apply) does not "establish residency" by living someplace for several years--at least not in the sense of having any right to the premises. Also the lawful owners of a home may not be kept out of it. Therefore, your mother (and anyone she chooses) should be able to be present in her own home.

However, if the police are misapprehending the situation, rather than confront them about it (never a wise decision), you should consult with an attorney who can, if the situation warrants it, move for a court order on an "emergent" (think "urgent" or "emergency") basis to make sure you have the right to be present (and also to put any other restrictions on your niece that the court deems appropriate or reasonable).

You can also create an inventory of items--yours and hers--at some point when she is not there, backing it up with photographs, which you could use to sue, if necessary, if she takes items which are not hers.

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