Evicting a Family Member

Author: Todd Christiansen | Category: Eviction, Eviction Law

This has to be one of the most difficult evictions to do.  It can be poisoned with love that you have for the person, but hate or frustration with the actions.  There is no perfect answer, no quick fix to this situation.  Here are some things to think about and be prepared for prior to you starting the process:

  • How long the family member has lived with you may change how you can force them out of the house.  Evicting a 18 year old child that has always lived with you may be different than evicting a brother that was supposed to stay for a week and has now been there 6 months.
  • If the family member has some ownership in the home, this can change things.  Even if the family member does not have ownership rights, but has historically been the one paying the mortgage or the main bread winner, again this eviction can be difficult.
  • In some jurisdictions, if the family member can be considered a guest, you can simply have them removed by the police for trespassing.  In Minnesota, if the family member does not pay rent or utilities, he won’t be considered a tenant, but may be considered a “licensee” because you originally gave him permission to stay in your property.  You will actually need to serve him with a notice to vacate also called a notice to quit, which should give him 14 days to leave.  If at the end of that time he does not leave, you will need to evict him as a hold-over tenant.
  • Inform the police or courts immediately if you have reason to fear for your safety before or after you start the eviction process.  This may get worse before it gets better.  You may need to file for a restraining order prior to filing for the eviction.
  • When it comes time to file the eviction and/or go to court, stick to the facts only.  Why are you evicting them?  If it is for non-payment of rent, than do not talk about how they stole your favorite music CD.  Just keep to the fact and take the high road.  This will be evident to the court if the family member tries to draw you into a fight or argument in court.

In the end, you should do research on eviction laws in your area.  These can vary wildly and you should understand your rights and your family members rights.  I would recommend that you consult competent eviction attorneys to help you weed through the case and give you sound eviction advice one what your chances, risks, and challenges will be.

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