Being asked to help a friend or relative during a difficult time is a situation in which many people find themselves. Most of us are happy to help, at least for the time being. Should you find yourself in a situation where you have a house guest who turns into a long-term roommate, it can be difficult to evict without drama.
Asking Someone to Leave
1. Determine why you want to leave them. You need to be clear with your own logic before you dive into the conversation. Review any agreements you have made, or any promises that have been made, that have been broken. Assess the situation and their current behavior, actually basing your argument. While “I don’t like being with them” is an acceptable reason to ask someone to move, you want concrete details, like “they never do the dishes,” “they said they’d quit months ago,” Talk before etc. them.
Write the date as well as their issues. You want a detailed, specific record of their behavior in the case to be difficult.
This conversation will not be easy, and it will more than likely harm your relationship. However, living with serious differences or issues will also hurt your friendship, so if it’s been a long time you need to take a stand.
Tip: If you have set ground rules before going in, the conversation may not be as difficult. It is best to sign a contract that outlines expectations before someone moves into your home.
2. Speak with an appropriate and respectful tone. Although you are feeling violated, fed up, or sick and tired, it is important not to explode and make unreasonable demands. Put out your reasons for asking them to leave, and tell them that you understand how hard it is. You will talk to them as coworkers, cling to the facts and not get emotional.
Says, “We have enjoyed you, but we unfortunately need our place back and will have to ask you to leave in the next two weeks.”
Depending on the reason that they are staying with you, you may need to collect information on community support services to help get them out on time. If they are at risk for their car or living on the streets, help them get in touch with emergency homeless-prevention services. They may also be able to obtain temporary accommodation.
Stick to the reasons you drafted earlier. If they have found a problem or broken promises, remind them that they have not held their end of the bargain and need to move forward in a new environment.
3. Provide detailed, impersonal examples of the need to leave them. “Because I hate you,” or “Because you’re lazy.” Instead of insulting them, give them tangible examples. This is where a list will come in handy. If they are a constant source of issues, then each event and date as they arise. When they ask “why,” mention 2-3 specific times where they broke a promise or you had trouble.
Note your reasons for asking them to leave, whenever possible, not all of their flaws. “We need more space,” “We can’t afford to have you here anymore,” etc.
4. Provide a definite date for them to leave. Letting them know that they can have incredible stress and strain to leave that night, and your friend or relative does not need to go anywhere. Instead, choose a date for which they need to leave and tell them that it is a fixed timeframe. In general, try and give it at least 1-2 weeks, or until the end of the month, so that they have some time to prepare for their next move.
“I would like you to go out completely by April 20.”
If there is a valid reason why that date is bad, you can talk with them to find a better day. However, do not change for more than 3-5 days.
5. Look for information or alternatives as a good sign. If you have the resources, compile some ideas to help your guest in the rehabilitation process. You can also bring these into the discussion, so that you will know that they need to be left out but there are options available. They may reject your views, but it can soften the blow by pretending that you still care about their well-being.
6. Be firm, clear and consistent about your decision. Once you decide to take them out, grab your ground. This conversation can get messy, and feelings will flare up about how ready you are. However, you need to stick to your decision. If your householders convince you to change your mind, then they will realize that they can continue the rules and promises without any change. If things are so bad that you are going to exclude them, then you really need to be prepared to keep them out.
7. Understand that this can damage or ruin your relationship. Keeping a friend or relative outside is stressful, and will most likely lead to difficult feelings. Ultimately, though, you need to remember that keeping them in your home for too long can cause as much damage to your relationship. If you are in constant conflict, your friend / relative is taking advantage of you, or you are simply an inconsistent life partner, then your relationship will only become toxic if you stay under the same roof. That said, there are ways to make more efforts to maintain your friendship. You can do this:
Help them find their new place or job.
Avoid humiliation, even in stressful situations. If they are angry, keep calm and repeat why it is important to you that they find a new place to live. Do not start insulting.
Schedule a time to meet, have them at dinner, and see each other as friends.
If you get into a big fight, or have serious disagreements, it may be best to cut them off completely.
Legally Removing People
1. Send a certified letter asking them to leave in 30 days or less. While a house guest is not technically a tenant, some tenant-landlord laws still apply to the relationship if they have been with you for more than 30 days. Talk to a lawyer who will help you draft and send an eviction notice. It is necessary to protect their liability, in writing, giving advance warning.
This warning would legally establish him as an “at-will tenant”. You need this situation. If you have to take legal action, do not leave it.
Be careful how you write the letter so that they do not use tenant laws to prevent you from being removed. Check your personal situation policies, and make it clear what kind of accommodation you have with the person, especially if they are not paying any rent.
2. File an official tenant eviction order with your local courts. If they still do not leave, you can take them to court. If they pay for groceries or any bills, they may be legally “at-will tenants”, making it very difficult for them to legally move out. If they ignore the first written warning, you will need to file a formal eviction with your local district court to get them out.
Generally, your letter will outline a place for them to receive their belongings in which they do not move, as well as the specific date when your luggage will be removed from your home.
Note: If you plan on a court order, you should be prepared with a copy of your lease and any agreement, as well as a list of issues and violations (“just cause for expulsion”).
3. Do not change the locks until you are concerned about your safety. If you suddenly turn down a one-will tenant, especially if their belongings are still in the home, you may be the target of costly civil suits and legal action. Changing locks on a guest, if it causes problems or cuts them off your property, you may also get jail time in the wrong circumstances. In addition, it often provokes already high stress and can lead to further issues.
Once you have a court order, and / or the police are informed that you are concerned about your safety, you can safely change your locks.
4. Call the police if they still refuse to leave. Unless they are a legitimate resident of the home, it is usually determined whether they receive mail or are leased, so they can be removed from your property as “trespassing”. Obviously, involving police is for the most extreme cases, and even the mention of 911 is often enough to get someone out the door. Some police offices will deny involvement in such a case. However, if you have sent the letter and / or filed for eviction from the court, they will expel your guest as a trespasser.
Setting Ground-Rules for House Guests
1. Set your rules and boundaries early. If you start to feel that someone is falling short of a roommate and visitor, set some ground rules as soon as possible. It gives you something to stand on when you finally need to get them out – you can point to concrete rules you have already decided instead of being emotional.
Set your expectations within the first week. Do they need to pay the rent? Do they have to be interviewed for jobs? If they want to stay indoors, have clear criteria to meet them.
A written and signed informal contract is the best way to determine the rules and guidelines and what to expect from each of you. It is even better to have the document notarized. Most banks give free notaries to those who bank there.
2. Make a timeline for their departure. Before formally asking them to leave, sit down and ask when they plan to go out. Keep the ball in their court, which makes it easy to stick to the exit date from the move. If they don’t have a timeline in mind, then you should create one at a time. Come up with something concrete, such as “when they get the job,” or “6 months later.”
If they need a job, work together with specific goals to reach – applying for one job a day, their resume, etc. Make sure they are really trying to get a job and Not just enjoying the free bed.
Tip: If you are not sure whether they should go in, create a test period. Tell them that they have 2-3 months when they move in, at which point you are not sure they can stay.
3. Make notes of issues and problems as they arise. If your friend or relative is breaking the rules, getting abusive, or going back on their promise, write the event with the date and time in a small notebook. Then, it specifies you to bring you up on talking about quitting rather than vague generalities or emotional appeals.
Keep it as impersonal as possible. Telling them to leave is not meant to ruin a friendship, especially if you base your reasons in facts rather than feelings.
4. Help them get back on their feet. Some people will go out on their own, taking a little care. Read their resumes and cover letters as they apply to jobs, visit open houses with them, and encourage them to stretch out and be independent. If you can help someone become self-sufficient, they can leave without creating conflict.
Review your goals and promises regularly, work together to make them a reality.
If you can help finance their new move, then it is all they should go for.
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