Evicting a Family Member with No Lease Guide

May 23rd 2024
Evicting a family member from your home can be challenging, even if they have no lease and aren't paying rent. It’s easy to feel guilty about this situation, but there’s no reason to, especially if they're making your life difficult. While it might seem harsh, evicting a family member is necessary in many cases.

Here are some gentle ways to evict a family member while still keeping your relationship in one piece.

hash-markTable of Contents

How To Evict a Family Member With No Lease
How Do You Get Them Out If They Won't Leave?
How Do You Know If You Should Evict a Family Member?
Can You Keep a Relationship After Evicting a Family Member?
Evicting a Family Member With No Lease Bottom Line

hash-markHow to Evict a Family Member with No Lease

  1. Understand Your Rights
  2. Serve Them Notice
  3. Avoid Taking Rent
  4. Pay Them to Leave
  5. Take Legal Action

1. Understand Your Rights

The first step to evicting a family member who is not on the lease is to review local laws and understand your rights.

Typically, as the property owner, you have the following rights:

  • Right to property ownership: As the property owner, you have the right to control who resides on your premises.
  • Right to evict: You have the right to initiate eviction proceedings against individuals who are not on the lease.
  • Right to enforce lease agreements: Even if someone is not on the lease, you have the right to enforce occupancy rules and remove individuals who violate them. However, in many states you will need to follow specific procedures to evict someone, even if they are not on the lease and paying rent.

Consulting with an experienced landlord-tenant attorney is essential to ensure that you navigate these procedures correctly and protect your rights as a property owner.

2. Serve Them Notice

Once you are familiar with local eviction laws, the next step for evicting a family member is to serve them with proper notice. The eviction notice should include the date of service, tenant's name, reason for eviction (if required), vacate-by date, any remedial actions, method of service, landlord's contact info, and a statement regarding legal action if the notice is ignored, ensuring compliance with local eviction laws.

Even if you're evicting a family member with no lease, the law requires you to serve notice. You cannot just kick them out of your home. The eviction notice will give anywhere from three to ninety days’ notice of termination of tenancy, depending on local laws.

3. Avoid Taking Rent 

It is easier to evict a family member who doesn't pay rent. If you're not receiving any rent money from your family member and they offer to start paying rent, do not accept it. Tenants who pay you will have more freedom and rights than those who do not pay rent. The eviction clock resets every time you take money from them.

4. Pay Them to Leave

If you don't want to harm the relationship and you have the financial means to do so it may be easier to pay them to leave. You can offer a sum of money in exchange for vacating the premises or even offer to pay their first month's rent in their new place. 

5. Take Legal Action

Sometimes, a family member won’t leave, even with gentle notice. You may need to take further legal action at this point. There are legal actions you can take to ensure they vacate the premises.

Some legal actions you can consider are:

  • Filing for eviction: If the family member refuses to leave after receiving notice, you can file for eviction through the appropriate legal channels in your jurisdiction. This typically involves filing eviction paperwork with the local court and attending a hearing where a judge will make a decision on the eviction.
  • Obtaining a court order: If the eviction is granted by the court, you can obtain a court order requiring the family member to vacate the premises by a certain date. This court order gives legal authority for law enforcement to remove the individual if they still refuse to leave voluntarily.
  • Seeking assistance from law enforcement: In some cases, law enforcement officers may assist with the eviction process by physically removing the family member from the property if they refuse to leave after being served with a court order.

You should only take these steps if you couldn’t resolve the situation through communication and negotiation.

hash-markHow Do You Get Them Out if They Won’t Leave?

If a family member won’t leave, you may need to take further legal action to get them out. These can be costly. However, they might be necessary if you can’t get this individual out of your house.

To remove a family member if they won’t leave, you should:

  • File an eviction petition: An eviction petition is filed with the court. You can then state your case. If the judge rules in your favor, you’ll get an order of eviction.
  • Get a lawyer: Hire a lawyer if all else fails. They can help you navigate legal action in the case of the eviction of a family member.
  • Contact the authorities: If they won’t get out, contact the authorities. This action is best if they’re a danger to your home. You should only contact authorities if they’ve ignored a court-ordered eviction notice.

These will work if all else fails in your efforts to evict your family member.

While taking these actions may seem harsh, you'll need to do so if you can no longer live with them and want them out.

hash-markHow Do You Know If You Should Evict a Family Member?

It can be tricky to determine whether or not it’s time to evict a family member from your home. You might feel that the timing is correct but be insecure about enacting it. There are a few things you can look for if you’re thinking about evicting a family member from your home. Let’s talk about a few of these so you can determine when eviction should happen.

If you’re debating evicting a family member, you should look for indications in your life such as:

  • Lack of rent: If they’re not paying to stay with you, eviction is a valid choice.
  • A changing living situation: Sometimes, your living situation may change. You might have a baby or need another room to rent out.
  • A need to sell: If you need to sell your home, you may need to evict your family member to give up ownership of the house.
  • Health reasons: You may experience health troubles that make it impossible to house another person. 
  • Safety issues: Sometimes, family members can be dangerous to have inside, especially if you have children living in your home.

These are all viable reasons to ask a family member to leave your property.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. It may be at the fault of the family member, or it may just be that you’re moving forward in your life and can’t have them living in your home anymore. Whatever it may be, you are justified if you want to remove them from your home.

Ensure your family member is well-aware of changes before they happen. They’re less likely to leave if you spring eviction on them suddenly, rather than giving them a decent notice ahead of the change.

hash-markCan You Keep a Relationship After Evicting a Family Member?

Some may not follow through with evicting a family member for the sake of preserving the relationship. This action might be great for your standing with that family member, but it might damage your household and even hurt your bank account. Is it possible to keep a relationship with them after eviction?

Here are a few things you can try to hang on to your relationship after evicting them:

  • Help them find a new place
  • Apologize to them
  • Give them a little extra time to get themselves together, if the eviction isn’t time-sensitive

These are the best things you can do to stay close.

Sometimes, an eviction might be the end of the line for your relationship. That’s okay! Things change. If you warn them, help them, and try to make things better, you’ve done everything you could to fix the issue. Evicting a family member may not be ideal, but it can be necessary. Don’t be afraid to follow through if your life changes.

hash-markEvicting a Family Member with No Lease Bottom Line

Evicting someone can be a tricky process, especially when it's a family member. It can seem daunting to take this kind of action against someone close to you, but it’s in your right to evict someone from your home. And family members who won’t vacate a space are more common than you think. If you decide to evict a family member, it's best to be as gentle as possible to keep your relationship intact for as long as possible.

If family members do not vacate your home through communication and negotiation, you may have to resort to taking legal actions, which can strain your relationship and place both you and the family member under significant stress. Additionally, if the family member has nowhere else to go, it can take a toll on both of you emotionally and add further complexity to the situation. Throughout this process, you will have to follow state law and tolerate the situation until the court reaches a decision, which may prolong the uncertainty and discomfort for all involved parties.