How much time does someone have to move out?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How much time does someone have to move out?

My former girlfriend lived with me for 3 years now we are not together, she says
she does not have to leave, how long can she stay here?

Asked on November 7, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you own the premises or are a tenant with a lease (and your girlfriend is not a co-tenant), then after 3 years she will be considered to be a "licensee"; that is someone invited to enter and remain on the premises. Now that her "license" has been revoked, she will need to be evicted if she will not voluntarily move out. To evict someone from their established home, the person who is entitled to possession of the premises must sue in court.
That having been said, if you are a tenant and your girlfriend's name is not on the lease, she could still be considered a "tenant". So, for example, if your landlord has treated her as a tenant by accepting rent (or a portion thereof) from her directly, by putting her name on the mailbox, or if the both of you rented the place together and it was clear that you were on equal footing. Under these type circumstances, she may have attained the status of a tenant, in which 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, you legally have standing to evict her. However, it is important to note that you must comply with all legal requirements for eviction or "unlwaful detainer". Someone who is put out of their home in an unlawful manner is entitled to recover damages in a legal action against the wrongdoer. Consequently, do not be tempted to use self-help measures such as removing her personal belongings or changing the locks. At this point, you may want to consult directly with an attorney as to what are the legal procedures necessary to remove your girlfriend from your home. 

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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