Can someone claim back rent in a co-habitation relationship?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can someone claim back rent in a co-habitation relationship?

My ex and his girlfriend have lived together in an on/off relationship for years. He is now Ill and his sister who has power of attorney now wants to kick his girlfriend out. She is threatening my son and daughter-in-law girlfriend’s daughter with certified

letters saying if they don’t pay up for girlfriend no money.

Asked on January 26, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, if there had been no tenancy or rental agreement previously, there are *no* grounds for back rent. You need there to have been an agreement to pay rent ot have an obligation to pay it. What the sister can do as his attorney-in-fact (the person given power by the POA; also called an "agent") is she can revoke the girlfriend's permission to be there (assuming it is your ex's home--that is, he owns or leases it, and the girlfriend is not on the title or lease) the same way that your ex could revoke her permission to be there: someone who is not an  owner and not a tenant is a guest, and the guest may only stay there as long as the person with rights over the space (the owner or renter) allows them to be there. That person (your ex, if it is his home) has the right to revoke that permission at any time; his attorney-in-fact or agent can do so on his behalf, with the same effect as if the principal (person creating the POA; your ex) did it himself. So she can simply tell the girlfriend to leave; and if she does not, she can bring an "ejectment" (basically, eviction for non-tenants) action against her to remove her.
However, while the attorney-in-fact can act for her principal, she cannot override or overrule him. So the sister can only do this if he does not object. If he does object and wants the girlfirend to stay, she can.

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