How can I get rid of a someone living in my house that has never paid rent?

UPDATED: Nov 24, 2011

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How can I get rid of a someone living in my house that has never paid rent?

I have a friend that has been living with me for a few months. I have asked him to leave and he refuses to. What can I do to get him to move out?

Asked on November 24, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Since this person pays no rent he will be considered to be a long-term guest or "licensee" (i.e. someone invited to stay on the property). Now that the invitation or permission to stay has been revoked, you will need to give him notice to vacate your house. If he fails to leave by the date given in the notice, then you will have to file what is called an "unlawful detainer"; this is basically an eviction lawsuit. If successful, the court will issue you a "writ of possession". Your occupant will then either have to remove himself from your premises or you can have the sheriff remove him. 

In the meantime, don't be tempted to take any "self-help" measures such as changing the locks, removing his belongings, etc. If you do you could be taken to court for unlawful eviction. At this point you should consult with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant cases. They can advise best on the correct way in which to do this.

In the meantime, here is a site that you will find to be of help:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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