Many people find themselves in the position of having to assist a friend or relative during difficult times. Most of us are happy to assist, if only for a short time. If you have a house guest who becomes a long-term roommate, it can be difficult to evict them without causing a scene.
Method 1 Requesting that Someone Leave
1. Determine the reason you want them to leave. Before you begin the conversation, you must be certain of your own reasoning. Examine any agreements you made when they moved in, as well as any promises made/broken. Examine the situation and their current behaviour, and base your reasoning on facts. While “I don’t like living with them” is an acceptable reason to ask someone to move, you want concrete details before talking to them, such as “they never do the dishes,” “they said they would leave months ago,” and so on.
Make a note of the problems as they arise, along with the date. You’ll need a detailed, specific record of their behaviour in case things get heated.
This will not be an easy conversation, and it will almost certainly harm your relationship. Living together with serious differences or issues, on the other hand, will harm your friendship, so you must take a stand if they’ve been there for too long.
Tip: If you established ground rules before they moved in, the conversation may be easier. Before anyone moves into your home, it’s best to sign a contract outlining expectations.
2. Speak in a calm and respectful tone of voice. Even if you are feeling violated, fed up, or sick and tired, it is critical that you do not erupt and make unreasonable demands. Explain your reasoning for asking them to leave, and let them know you understand how difficult this is for them. Speak to them as you would a coworker, focusing on facts rather than emotional outbursts.
“We’ve enjoyed having you, but we unfortunately need our space back and must ask you to leave in the next two weeks,” say the hosts.
Depending on the reason for their stay, you may need to gather information on community assistance services to assist them in moving out on time. Help them get in touch with emergency homeless-prevention services if they are at risk of living in their car or on the streets. They might even be able to get some sort of temporary housing.
Keep the reasons you wrote down earlier in mind. If they’ve been a problem or broken promises, remind them that they haven’t kept their end of the bargain and need to find a new job.
3. Give specific, impersonal reasons why they should leave. Do not respond with phrases like “because I despise you” or “because you’re a slacker.” Instead of insulting them, give them concrete examples. This is where having a list comes in handy. If they are a constant source of problems, keep a record of each incident and the date it occurred. When they ask “why,” give them a couple of specific examples of times when they broke a promise or caused you trouble.
When possible, focus on your reasons for asking them to leave rather than all of their flaws. “We need more space,” “We can’t keep you here any longer,” and so on.
4. Give them a firm date by which they must depart. Telling them they have to leave that night may cause a great deal of stress and tension, and your friend or relative may be without a place to stay. Instead, choose a date by which they must depart and inform them that this is a firm deadline. In general, try to give them at least 1-2 weeks, or until the end of the month, so they can prepare for their next move.
“I’d like you to be completely relocated by April 20th.”
If there is a legitimate reason why that date is inconvenient, you can work with them to find a more suitable date. However, no more than 3-5 days should be shifted.
5. As a good will gesture, seek out information or alternatives. If you have the time and resources, put together a list of suggestions to assist your guest’s relocation. You can even bring these to the discussion, informing them that they must leave but that there are alternatives. They may reject your suggestions, but demonstrating that you still care about their well-being can help to soften the blow.
6. Make a firm, clear, and consistent decision. Hold your ground once you’ve decided to put them out. This conversation may become tense, and emotions will erupt regardless of how prepared you are. You must, however, maintain your resolve and stick to your decision. If your housemate can persuade you to change your mind, they’ll realise they can keep breaking rules and promises without ever changing. If you’re going to put things out, you should be prepared to really put them out.
7. Recognize that this may harm or destroy your relationship. Putting out a friend or relative is stressful and will almost certainly result in lingering resentment. Finally, keep in mind that keeping them in your home for an extended period of time can be equally damaging to your relationship. If you are constantly arguing, your friend/relative is taking advantage of you, or you are simply incompatible living partners, your relationship will only deteriorate if you continue to live together. Having said that, there are some things you can do to keep your friendship alive. You can: Assist them in finding a new home or job.
Even in tense situations, avoid insults. If they become enraged, remain calm and reiterate why it is critical that they find a new place to live. Don’t start hurling insults at each other.
Make plans to meet, invite them over for dinner, and continue to see each other as friends.
If you get into a heated argument or have serious disagreements, it may be best to cut them off completely.
Method 2 Legally Removing People
1. Send a certified letter requesting that they leave within 30 days or less. While a house guest is not technically a tenant, if they have been with you for more than 30 days, certain tenant-landlord laws apply to the relationship. Speak with an attorney who can assist you in drafting and sending an eviction notice. Giving this advance notice in writing is critical to limiting your liability.
This notice will legally classify them as a “at-will tenant.” You’ll need this status if you need to file a lawsuit, so don’t skip it.
Be careful how you word the letter so they can’t use tenant laws to stop you from evicting them. Check your state’s policies, and make it clear what kind of living arrangement you had with the person, especially if they are not paying rent.
2. Fill out an official tenant eviction order and submit it to your local courts. If they still refuse to leave, you have the option of taking them to court. If they paid for groceries or bills, they may be considered a “at-will tenant,” making it much more difficult to legally evict them. If they disregard the first written warning, you’ll have to file formal eviction proceedings with your local district court to get them out.
In general, your letter will outline a location for them to receive their belongings if they do not move, as well as the specific date their belongings will be removed from your home.
Note: If you intend to obtain a court order, you should have a list of issues and infractions (known as “just cause for eviction”), as well as a copy of your lease and any agreements, on hand.
3. Unless you are concerned about your safety, do not change the locks. If you unexpectedly evict an at-will tenant, especially if their belongings are still in the house, you may face costly civil suits and legal action. In the wrong circumstances, changing a guest’s locks can result in jail time if it causes problems or cuts them off from their property. Furthermore, it frequently exacerbates already high tensions and can lead to additional problems.
You can safely change your locks once you have a court order and/or have informed the police that you are concerned about your safety.
4. If they still refuse to leave, call the cops. They can be removed from your property as a “trespasser” unless they are a legitimate resident of the house, which is usually determined if they receive mail or are on the lease. Obviously, involving the police is reserved for the most extreme cases, and simply mentioning 911 is frequently enough to get someone out the door. Some police departments will refuse to get involved in a situation like this. However, if you have sent the letter and/or filed for eviction with the court, they will come and remove your guest as a trespasser.
Method 3 Setting Ground-Rules for House Guests
1. Establish your ground rules and boundaries early on. If you have the impression that someone is becoming more of a roommate and less of a visitor, establish some ground rules as soon as possible. This gives you something to stand on when it comes time to kick them out; instead of getting emotional, you can refer back to the concrete rules you established earlier.
Within the first week, establish your expectations. Is it necessary for them to pay rent? Do they have to go on job interviews? Set clear goals for them to achieve if they want to stay in the house.
A written and signed informal contract is the best way to establish the ground rules and expectations for both of you. It’s even better if the document is notarized. Most banks provide free notaries to customers who bank with them.
2. Create a timetable for their departure. Before formally asking them to leave, sit down and inquire as to when they intend to leave. Put the ball in their court, and it will be easier to stick to the move-out date as it approaches. If they don’t have a timetable in mind, you should come up with one together. Make a firm commitment, such as “when they get a job” or “after 6 months.”
If they need a job, set specific goals for them to achieve, such as applying to one job per day, rewriting their resume, and so on. Check to see if they are actually looking for work and not just taking advantage of the free bed.
Tip: If you’re not sure whether they should move in, set up a trial period. When they move in, tell them they have 2-3 months, after which you won’t know if they can stay.
3. Make a note of any issues or problems that arise. If a friend or relative is breaking the rules, being disrespectful, or breaking their promises to you, record the incident in a small notebook along with the date and time. Again, this gives you specifics to bring up when discussing leaving with them, rather than broad generalities or emotional appeals.
Maintain as much impersonality as possible. Asking them to leave does not have to be the end of a friendship, especially if your reasoning is based on facts rather than feelings.
4. Assist them in getting back on their feet. Some people will leave on their own if they are gently nudged. Examine their resumes and cover letters as they apply for jobs, accompany them to open houses, and encourage them to branch out and become independent. If you can assist someone in becoming self-sufficient, they may leave without causing a squabble.
They should review their goals and promises on a regular basis, and work together to make them a reality.
If you can assist them in financing their new move, this may be all they need to get started.
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