What rights does my ex-girlfriend have to continue to live in my home?

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What rights does my ex-girlfriend have to continue to live in my home?

I have asked my ex-girlfriend to leave my home for over 6 months and she still refuses. There is no lease agreement; the house and utilities are in my name and she pays nothing to live there. What are my legal options?

Asked on February 24, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since your ex-girlfriend has not paid you rent (food, utilities, etc), then she is not a tenant; she is a "licensee".  This is someone who was invited to stay on the premises with the owner's permission.  Now that such permission has been revoked, she is subject to removal in the same way in which a tenant would be - eviction.  You now need to deliver to your ex written notice, typically 30 days.  If she does not leave by the specified date, you can then file an "unlawful detainer action" (i.e. eviction action) .  If you prevail in court, she will then be ordered to vacate the premises.  If she doesn't then the sheriff will remove her, forcibly if necessary.

In the meantime do not undertake any "self-help" remedies such as changing the locks, removing her belongings, etc. If you do you could find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit.  At this point you should contact a tenant's right organization or real estate attorney specializing in landlord/tenant matters. They can best advise you of the correct procedures to take. 


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