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What to do When A House Guest Won't Leave

It happens more often than you’d think.

You invite someone to stay in your home. Perhaps it’s a friend or relative who is going through a tough time and you’re trying to help them get back on their feet. Maybe it’s a boyfriend or girlfriend that moved into your place but now the relationship has turned sour. Regardless of how it started, you’re now stuck with an unwanted house guest who now refuses to leave.

If you feel threatened by your unwanted guest or fear for your safety or the safety of others, you should immediately contact law enforcement.

If there is not a safety issue, and the person has been staying at your home for some time, you will likely find that the police typically cannot remove the person and will instead tell you this is a civil matter you have to resolve yourself.

Some people will attempt to file an eviction to remove the unwanted person from their home. However, this can often do more harm than good. Unless there is a true landlord/tenant relationship, eviction likely the wrong legal remedy. If you file an eviction action without a landlord/tenant relationship this can result in delay, the case being dismissed, loss of filing fees and sometimes worse.

"Self-help" options are also discouraged as often the property owner who tries to remove the unwanted guest without going through the proper legal procedure can find themselves in trouble with the law.

The good news is there is a solution, generally by filing a claim for unlawful detainer or action for ejectment. These actions generally involve giving the unwanted party formal notice and an opportunity to leave the property peacefully. If they refuse, legal action is then filed asking the court to remove the unwanted party. The procedure varies based on your circumstances so it’s always best to seek advice from an experienced attorney who can evaluate your situation and offer solutions.

If you or a loved one are being taken advantage of by someone who refuses to leave your home, I can help. Contact my office today and we can review your situation and help you take back control and show your unwanted house guest the door.

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Landlord/TenantKatie Floyd