How can you 'legally' force a roommate to move?

ashliJune 14, 2008

I didn't know where to post this I chose here.

Our daughter lived in an apartment and did well on her own...Then, a co-worker, a friend of several years, asked to live with her and share the rent payment until..."I can get back on my feet."...For a few months ( as for as I know) the 'friend' contributed money for the rent and utilities.

Then, my daughter rented a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house...I was suspicious and didn't trust her 'friend' to live up to her verbal agreement to pay her share of the bills...and tried to persuade my daughter to let her 'friend' go her own way when she moved...One bedroom is decorated with cats' toys and towers for daughter's 3 cats.

My daughter is too trusting! Only her name is on the signed lease.

Anyway, it has been seven months since they moved to the house...During that short time, the 'friend' has taken out three loans (that I know of) and bought a new car...and stays on the go when not working, going out with her other as if she had plenty of money, which she doesn't...People are going to the house trying to collect money she owes them...she ignores them.

My daughter tells DH things that she'd never talk to me about...the 'friend' hasn't helped to pay rent or anything else for months now...I think she just makes her car payments(?)...and lives to have fun. She's a divorced 33 year-old woman who's 3 children live with their dad.


Odd, that she and my daughter seem to still be friends...DD is struggling to pay the bills because her job hours were cut.

My solution is to get rid of her and have someone move in that can help with the bills...DD just shook her head at that idea...I hate to stand by and watch her let someone take advantage of her...that woman is never going to "get back on my feet."

I know that DD would have to ask her to move(?) and that doesn't seem likely.

Nothing we can do legally to get her to move?

I wondered if we, DH and I, moved in with them for awhile would that persuade her to move and he said, "Probably not."

None of our business?...Maybe not, but still...

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Our former son in law had the same problem and he was such a softy he couldn't evict the woman. His father finally had his fill of it when she answered the door in the nude . He rented her a motel room for a month, told her to pack her bags, took her to the motel and told her not to go back to his son's house. Problem solved. In that case she was a druggy.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 10:03AM
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Check your local statutes. In my area, if someone has "established residency," i.e., lived with you for six months or longer, in order to evict them, you must go to the sheriff's office and file an eviction notice. The person then has a certain number of days (in my area, I think it's 30, but it may be 60...not sure any more) in which to get out. If they are not out by then, the sheriff (or more likely, a deputy sheriff) comes to your house and forcibly evicts them.

The problem with this is that during the time in which the "evictee" has to find another place to live -- the 30, 60, or 90 days or whatever), they can do untold mischief. This is why it is SO very important to really make sure the person you're allowing to come live in your house is someone that is stable in all ways: mentally, financially, etc. and compatible with you.

Because this is so difficult to pre-judge is why many people, including myself, do not have roommates, even though it would be great to have the help with utility bills, having someone else around to help with the upkeep, maybe even a bonus of companionship.

In your case, since it's your daughter's name on the dotted line, she is the one who would have to file for the eviction.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 2:03PM
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child, I am not sure that is legal. People always say that here, but it is not true. Everyone is entitled to his day in court. You can ask and you can bluff, but if they know the law, it takes a court order.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 6:46PM
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I see a couple of problems you're dealing with.

First, the legal one. The only place you should be going for legal advice on ANYTHING is a lawyer. It's not appropriate for anyone else to give you legal advice--it's actually ILLEGAL. But as I understand it, the roommate has rights, and those rights mean she will probably continue to live with your daughter for quite a long time to come (most likely rent-free), even if you do employ a lawyer to take action to get her out.

Second--the more significant problem for you--your daughter doesn't want to take any action against this woman. Assuming your daughter is of age, and of sound mind, and not asking you to pay her bills or cosign things for her--that's her right. If she wants to support a grown deadbeat, there's really nothing you can do to change things.

Sometimes the best help we can give our grown children is to step back, and allow them to experience life for themselves. They learn much more that way.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 9:37AM
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DD had trouble with her roommate, in fact there were 5 people living all together and everyone had a problem with the same roommmate. They all ended up renting a new place and informing the roommate that they are all moving and since she could not afford to stay there by herself but was not welcome to join the whole crew, she was forced to look for a different place herself. it was a drastic measure to move that many people to get rid of one, but that's what they had to do because nothing else worked.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 12:55PM
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If you are referring to me, what I said is not illegal. It is illegal to set up an office, give legal advice and charge a fee without having credentials. Your second suggestion was right on, if the daughter is managing financially without help it's no one else's business.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 2:02PM
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No Stargazer--I was not referring to you at all--or anyone who had answered the OP's question. I didn't read the responses before I posted.

I meant that if one needs good legal advice, about a specific legal problem, they should ASK THEIR LAWYER. Laws and practices differ from location to location. Much more effective to consult a real attorney, if one needs real legal advice, preferable, really to asking a bunch of internet strangers who may or may not have understood the question, who may or may not live in the same jurisdiction, who may or may not know what they're talking about, and who you have no recourse against if you follow their 'legal advice' and get yourself in trouble.

You're as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. But I have a lawyer, and I believe in using him when I need to. His advice is always worth every penny I pay him, and then some.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 9:25PM
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I have never needed one except for free counseling twice and both times I got wrong advice both times. After my husband died last year I went to a lawyer for him to look at how I set up final arrangements. He approved everything and said he couldn't have done better. I research everything that affects me or my family. I had an administrator at a care home ask if I was in the medical field. When I asked why she thought that, she said you are so knowledgeable about this. Been to small claims court 4 times with rental, won every time, but one and she only got $8. and she was ordered to pay court costs which was $13. She was not a happy camper.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 10:48PM
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When does the lease end ? Perhaps that is the time to move on.

If it was my daughter I would be really tempted to "speak" to the roommate, with my husband in tow ! Its awful to think of your daughter in this situation, and I can fully understand how you feel. Perhaps giving the roomie an ultimatum, "you must be out by the end of next week". Stating the facts.

I know its for them to work out...but gee,they need a helping hand from time to time.

Its not a nice living arrangement, is it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 4:04AM
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It's actually none of your business. I've lived with roommates when I was single. My best friend and I had our name on the lease and another male friend moved in after awhile. When we wanted him out, we gave him one month's notice. His name wasn't on the lease and he didn't have any rent receipts from us, so there was no proof and, therefore, couldn't argue his case. If your DD's friend's name isn't on the lease and she isn't paying rent, your DD has all the right to ask her to leave. But then maybe she's letting her friend "vent it out" a little bit for awhile and to be there for her. Has your DD complained to you?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 7:13AM
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No, DD doesn't complain to me about her roommate, only once she said, "You can't believe anything she says."...She knows that I hate how she's being taking advantage of, but she does talk to her Dad about it sometimes, because he can listen without criticizing.
Maybe I shouldn't of said, "legally"...wouldn't want the law involved...thought maybe there was a way to get the roommate to want to move out.
Apparently, the two get along fine with each other. But their social life is opposites. 'Freeloader' likes to go out and party as if she doesn't have any responsibilties...DD doesn't allow any alcohol in her house, and she has her own circle of friends.
Stargazer, if the roommate was a druggy, it might be easier to get her out, like you wrote about your former son in law's father did...not many druggies would go to the police complaining(?)...but, she isn't.
Her attitude seems to be that DD would have to pay the rent anyway... so why not let her live there free!
DD has always wanted to rent that house... she loves it, no kids... but pets are allowed...But... it's very expensive...with a huge yard and a nearby lake to enjoy...When it came up for rent again...the roommate promised to pay half...But, instead, took out personal loans, likely spent on her friends and whatever she pleased...Then bought a new car...and tells DD that she doesn't have any money...
Actually not contributing a penny to DD.
What is so aggraving to me is...DD will likely lose her 'dream home'...She has a lot of furniture...All the freeloader has are her clothes and a cellphone. If she would only leave (When what freezes over??)...DD has another friend that would move in with her, who has a good paying job, and seems very reliable.
We could help her with paying the rent...but that means also helping the freeloader live free-rent... who had once lived with her sister in a small, cramped house. Her boyfriend is a freeloader too...He doesn't own a car, lives with his aunt for now , and she taxi's him everywhere and buys him cigarettes, etcs.,
DD has never asked us for a penny, or for any help...but I try to help in some ways that won't benefit the freeloader...I buy her cat's food and cat litter when I buy for ours...Sometimes, I insist on paying her cellphone bill because she bought me a cellphone too...and is paying for it...She thought I needed one...Occasionally, DH takes her truck and gets the oil changed for her and fills the gas tank. But it's still a struggle and she doesn't complain to us...But, DH recently told me that DD had to drop her Internet and Cable TV.
She's our only child and we've always been overly protective (?) of her...because she's an adult doesn't change that fact.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 5:17PM
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I can fully understand why this bothers you so much. But it seems that you are more stressed about it all than your DH and your DD.

The fact that your DD "talks" to your DH more than she would open up to you, suggests that maybe you become critical, and tell her what she should be doing, and she may not appreciate this. So then she becomes defensive and clams up. I know I am making wild assumptions here !

So what can you do about it ?

I don't think you can do anything, because you daughter does not want you to do anything. All you can really do is, work on being a good listener, so if she comes and complains about her situation, you will be there ready to listen. Try to move away from all your thoughts about what is going on, try to think of big picture things.

Like, your DD is healthy, she won't be living with this freeloader forever. It will all change eventually, won't it.

Think of ways to introduce ideas about how your DD could improve her situation - in a positive way.

Try to resist being overly protective of her.

I am sorry I can't offer you much more help.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 6:12PM
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No, you were right to include the word 'legally' in your question. Because if this woman is forced out in an illegal manner, there could be serious repercussions to your daughter.

If your daughter wants her out (and I don't get that she does) then SHE has to see a lawyer and follow the law to the letter to get the woman out. And as I said, the law and how it's practiced can vary from place to place.

Seriously, though--for your own good, best to let your daughter handle this on her own. If she asks you for advice, then it will be time to direct her to your family lawyer, but until then, it's best for you to let your dd make her own decision on this. She's an adult--she's earned that right.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 7:58PM
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Because if this woman is forced out in an illegal manner, there could be serious repercussions to your daughter.

I don't understand how it would be illegal to ask this friend to move out when everything is in the daughter's name. The friend is not "legally" signed on to anything; the lease, cable, internet, etc. Just because the friend had the "intention" of helping to pay half of everything, does not make it a "binding" "legal" agreement.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 12:41PM
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Whether the friend is on the lease or not makes no difference, as I understand it. Just living there gives her rights. Even if she's not paying, and not on the lease, you can't throw someone out on the street.

My husband works in the inner city. Even SQUATTERS--who have no legal right to live in the homes where they live (who often break in to get there), nor any invitation from the owners to live there, CANNOT BE EVICTED from their illegal 'homes' without the owner going through a long, complicated legal process. It's just illegal to throw someone out of a place without performing the correct legal steps--and the best one to get that info from is a lawyer. This 'guest' has rights. Probably more than the gal renting the place does at this point.

The fact that you asked this question, points out the fact that most people think it's okay to just throw someone out of the house (change the locks, whatever) when that may not be the case.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 3:35PM
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The fact that you asked this question, points out the fact that most people think it's okay to just throw someone out of the house (change the locks, whatever) when that may not be the case.

I'm just saying that if it's YOUR house, you do have rights. You make it sound like if you let someone in your house and he doesn't leave, then you have to let him stay there cuz you have no right to throw him out! LOL

It's not a landlord/tenant act agreement. That's different. A tenant does have rights, and a landlord has rights. But the daughter is not a landlord, she's a friend who happened to let another friend stay with her for awhile. It's her house/apartment. If that were the case (as you mentioned) a person who has a friend come over and who doesn't leave has no right to throw that person out? More people like the friend would be sponging off of people like the daughter. Doesn't make sense! It's her house! If you invited a friend over to stay at your house for awhile, it doesn't mean that you HAVE to let that person stay for as long as he wants. You have a right to throw him out if he doesn't leave. You're not his landlord, you're his friend.

The daughter is the one who has a tenancy agreement with the owner of the house, not the friend.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 8:18AM
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Unfortunately Khandi, that is NOT how it works everywhere. In most places once a person has established residency at an address, you must go through the court system to get them out. You cannot just throw someone out on the street, with or without their belongings. It does not matter if it is a roommate, close relative, or GF/BF.

If someone is planning on attempting to rid themselves of a roommate I would suggest getting legal advice from a professional in the area where you live. Laws regarding the length of time residency is established and the paperwork that needs to be filed to have the person removed varies depending on what country or county you are in.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 11:38PM
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