How doI evict my ex-girlfriend?

UPDATED: Jan 17, 2011

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How doI evict my ex-girlfriend?

She is not on the lease and she will not leave.

Asked on January 17, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If she is not on the lease, then she will be consider to be a "licensee"; that is someone invited to enter and remain on the premises.  Now that her "license" (i.e. invitation) had been revoked she will need to be evicted if she will not voluntarily move out.  The question now becomes, who is the suitable party to file an "unlawful detainer action (i.e. eviction)?  To evict someone from their established home, the person who is entitled to possession of the premises must sue in court. If your ex-girlfriend has no lease, then you can file (however you must be certain that she in fact does not have one).  Even if her name is not on your lease, she could still be considered a "tenant".  For example, if the landlord has treated her as a tenant by accepting rent directly from her, by putting her name on the mailbox/doorbell, or if you and she rented the place together and it was clear that both of you were on equal footing.  Under such circumstances, she may have attained the status of a tenant. In that case, the landlord would have to file for the eviction because only landlords can evict tenants.

Assuming that she is a licensee and not a  tenant, so that you legally have standing to evict her, it is important to note that you must comply with all legal requirements.  Someone who is put out of his/her home in a forcible or unlawful manner is entitled to recover damages in a legal action against the wrongdoer. Additionally, using illegal methods to force someone to move is a criminal violation. So do not be tempted to use self-help measures such as removing her personal belongings or changing the locks.

At this point, you should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney or tenant's rights organization to figure out your ex-girlfriend's legal occupancy status  and just what are the legal procedures  for filing an eviction in your state.

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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