Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


How do I evict my ex-girlfriend?
January 9, 2007 11:32 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to evict your ex-girlfriend?

I've been living with my girlfriend for almost 2 years. I have told her on many occasions that I want her to move out. She does not take me seriously. What can I do legally to have her removed? She has not paid me rent per se, but she has give me money here. This amount is no where near as much as rent would be.

Should I get a lawyer? I'm afraid this will get ugly, because she has a child living with us too. She is also very manipulative and will probalby lie about being abused and what not. What can I do to protect myself?
posted by zzztimbo to Law & Government (56 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you own the home? If not, whose name is on the lease?
posted by amro at 11:36 AM on January 9, 2007


Yes I own the home.
posted by zzztimbo at 11:39 AM on January 9, 2007


Change the locks and put her stuff in storage.
posted by mckenney at 11:41 AM on January 9, 2007


This might depend on your state. Where do you live?
posted by SpecialK at 11:41 AM on January 9, 2007


Get an attorney. Even if she hasn't paid you rent or if it's not a traditional "landlord/tenant" relationship, you have housed her for a significant period of time and that, in some states, signifies a landlord/tenat relationship.
posted by Sassyfras at 11:43 AM on January 9, 2007


In the absence of other info:

Move. Terminate your lease, or sell your home, and inform her that at x date you'll be leaving and the place will need to be evacuated.

Or you could sit her down and explain how serious you are, and offer her a modest settlement in order to ease her "inconvenience" and help her get set up if she agrees to move out by a certain date. If an agreement is reached, put it in writing. If she refuses to reach an agreement, let her know that the financial compensation is equivalent to the amount you are prepared to spend on a consultation with a lawyer: either she can get the money, or the lawyer can. Her choice.

She'll take the money. And it's a small price to pay to end this ASAP.

Later if she tries to backpedal or asks for more money, you'll have a legal document that give ou instant leverage.
posted by hermitosis at 11:45 AM on January 9, 2007


I was going to suggest that you could tell her to leave, and then if she refuses, she's trespassing, and you could have the police remove her. But if the police came and she said she had a right to be there (or something like that), then the police would probably tell you that because the facts are in dispute you have to take her to court. So I think a lawyer is the safest option from the beginning.
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:46 AM on January 9, 2007


Yeash... yeah, depending on where you live you guys could be "common law" by now - so she could come after you for abandonment or whatever.

If she really is manipulative and capable of lying regarding abuse then you may have to handle this really gently in order to avoid potential hassles.

I assume you've tried having adult sit-downs with her to discuss her moving out, etc? What is her reaction like? Is she in denial? Is she actively looking for a place? Does she have family that you can dump her off on?

I guess you have to ask yourself why this person wants to stay in a place with her kid where she obviously isn't wanted. Is it for financial reasons? Some other dependency? Is she even emotionally or financially capable of finding a new place and moving?

You may have to play nice and help her find a place and then help her move if she isn't able to do it on her own. Depending upon her financial standing you may have to help out with the first month's rent and moving expenses, etc... that is if you want to avoid potential ugliness. Whatever you do don't co-sign if her credit is bad - she could flake out and you'd wind up being responsible for her lease.

Sit her down and say, "Look we need to find you a new place to live - here let's start looking right now."

Sounds like a tough spot to be in - good luck - and let us know how it goes!
posted by wfrgms at 11:51 AM on January 9, 2007


Landlord/tenant? She was your girlfriend. But she's still living with you. How do you prove when she stopped being your girlfriend? Have you parented the child at all? This could be a lot bigger than you think. I would consult a lawyer. See, it looks artuable that you have in part supported her. In Canada, this starts to look like a marriage-like or common-law relationship. You don't want the equivalent of divorce. Consulting a lawyer will be cheaper than going through all that if she decides to go that way. I mean she's not leaving, right? Almost like she thinks she has a right to stay? Scary situation. Are you the only one on the lease? That would be nice. I'm not a lawyer, but I do hear them talking a lot about family court stuff.
posted by Listener at 11:53 AM on January 9, 2007


argh: artuable=arguable
Also, do you understand, from her point of view, why she does not leave? THis is key. Know the enemy.
posted by Listener at 11:54 AM on January 9, 2007


I live in California.
posted by zzztimbo at 11:56 AM on January 9, 2007


Based on your previous questions, it looks like you're in CA. This means that you're out of the woods at least in terms of the common law marriage question (see here).
posted by Partial Law at 11:57 AM on January 9, 2007


The best way to go about it is getting or consulting a lawyer, especially where we don't know the length of your living arrangements thus far and where you know she's manipulative.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:57 AM on January 9, 2007


Sorry, I missed that bit about owning the home. You need a lawyer, now, even if you are prepared to sell to get rid of her.
posted by Listener at 11:57 AM on January 9, 2007


It may be that she'll be construed as a tenant, with you being her landlord. In that case, depending on where you live, tenant's rights issues may emerge. Here in San Francisco, for example, tenants have lots of legal rights to protect them against eviction. I gather that tenants have few or no rights in many other places. So you may want to contact a housing law type organization in your area to find out what is involved in beginning eviction proceedings, and whether that would apply in your case.
posted by jasper411 at 11:58 AM on January 9, 2007


Oh two years. I read well, yep.

Still go with a lawyer, or at least talk to one. You may not need to engage legal representation, but the manipulation aspect is of concern.
posted by jerseygirl at 11:59 AM on January 9, 2007


I second hermitosis's sit-down idea, with two minor additions: do it in public, at an outdoor restaurant or something, and then move into a hotel until she is packed, gone, and has given you the keys.

FYI, immediately changing locks on or forcibly evicting a woman in an intimate relationship with you is criminal in many jurisdictions.

And finally, get a lawyer no matter what.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:00 PM on January 9, 2007


Oops, should've previewed. Anyway, while I agree you should consider a lawyer, this appears to be a good resource for gaining some information as to whether or not your situation qualifies as a landlord/tenant relationship. If it does, you're going to have to do something like this, and should almost certainly get a lawyer.
posted by Partial Law at 12:01 PM on January 9, 2007


I'm a little confused about the "not taking you seriously" part. Have you told her that you want her out of your house and if she doesn't leave you'll be forced to seek help from the authorities? Obviously this is an emotional issue for her and she doesn't want to let go. Without knowing what your situation with her is, you might want to explain to her that things are over and will never resume (that, of course, needs to be backed up by you not leading her on in any way).

Barring an emotional resolution, speak to someone who knows about housing law and get your ducks in a row to evict her. Once that's done, tell her that you'll begin proceedings to legally remove her from the house and then back up the threat by doing it if she doesn't leave within the time you've specified.
posted by Kimberly at 12:04 PM on January 9, 2007


Can't I just live somewhere else for the next two months and then turn off: electricity, cable, water, gas, etc?

Aren't lawyers expensive? Should I just go to the police station and tell them what has happened?
posted by zzztimbo at 12:04 PM on January 9, 2007


You want to talk to a lawyer, but I know that in divorce proceedings sometimes who is living in the house has a bearing on who gets the house.

Go talk to a lawyer. Don't do anything that might jeopardize your legal standing until you do that.
posted by winna at 12:07 PM on January 9, 2007


Do NOT move to a hotel! I've known guys who have been screwed by vacating the premises. You must keep the house your residence so you keep all your rights.
posted by Osmanthus at 12:08 PM on January 9, 2007


I suggest the Yard-a-Pult.
Seriously though, I would check on tennant law in your area. She is your defacto tennant under many laws and is probably protected by that from a "get out now" type of eviction.
posted by slavlin at 12:08 PM on January 9, 2007


zzztimbo writes "Can't I just live somewhere else for the next two months and then turn off: electricity, cable, water, gas, etc?"

Not if the law sees her as your tenant.

zzztimbo writes "Should I just go to the police station and tell them what has happened?"

The police will not want to get involved.

You need a lawyer.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:11 PM on January 9, 2007


No! Don't leave, and do not turn off utilities. Even actual legal landlords can't turn off utilities - and their tenants are sometimes able to claim damages against landlords who do.

Lawyers might be expensive, but not necessarily. Call your local bar association and ask if they can recommend someone specializing in landlord-tenant law who offers fees on a sliding scale, or who offers payment plans. Failing that, just get some recommendations for good landlord-tenant lawyers and see if you can't work out an arrangement with the lawyer individually. Keep in mind as well that you might get all the info you need in a one-hour consultation, which isn't too unmanageable at even big-firm prices.

If lawyers really are out of the picture, there are a lot of resources on the web for landlord-tenant law. Googling "California landlord tenant law" is a good place to start, but be aware that if you live in a city there might be additional city regulations as well.

The way it works in most states (if you are indeed found to be a de facto landlord), you will have to give her notice to vacate (somewhere around 30-60 days), and file it with the court. If she doesn't vacate after that point, you get an eviction order, and if she still doesn't leave some form of law enforcement comes to remove her.

But at least call a lawyer first. It may be as simple as calling the cops and having her removed for trespassing, but you won't know until you've heard it from a credible source.
posted by AV at 12:19 PM on January 9, 2007


Oh! I am not a lawyer, none of the above is legal advice, etc.
posted by AV at 12:20 PM on January 9, 2007


IANAL, but I think you could be considered her landlord. In my state, as a landlord with a small number of apartments/tenants or something, you don't have to show as much reason to refuse to rent to somebody as a larger landlord. I'd be surprised if california doesn't have similar regulations. Check into it. I don't know if you'll be able to actually evict her, as in, "you have (a short amount of time) to vacate)," but you should be able to terminate her renting arrangement or raise rent given sufficient notice (probably 60 days or so).
posted by gauchodaspampas at 12:22 PM on January 9, 2007


Be careful about restraining orders. This is a question you will want to ask your lawyer. If she has grounds to get a restraining order she can effectively kick you out of your home. So if possible, you want to be the first one to get a restraining order which would force her out of the house.
posted by zia at 12:30 PM on January 9, 2007


FYI, immediately changing locks on or forcibly evicting a woman in an intimate relationship with you is criminal in many jurisdictions.

Not in all of them. I evicted my-ex boyfriend last year. I called the Sheriff’s department, explained that he did not exist on paper as far as the bills and mortgage were concerned and that we had no lease agreement. As long as his stuff was accessible, protected, and undamaged, I was in the clear to empty the house of his things. That was the point they stressed more than the tenant’s rights. You can’t just toss someone’s stuff out onto the curb.

I waited until he went to play cards one night. Packed up his stuff, put it in the shed so he had key access to it, and had the locks changed. By 9pm I was in bed watching Napoleon Dynamite.
posted by pieoverdone at 12:32 PM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


You have already answered your own question re: attorney.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 12:34 PM on January 9, 2007


zzztimbo, there is a lot of talk of getting lawyers involved here - I just want to reiterate that you maybe able to work this out with her without getting a third party involved.

The way I understand it is: you want her to leave, she doesn't want to go.

You've been vague on the methods you've used to try to get her to leave up to this point... so it makes it difficult to recomend a course of action...

However, you've been living with this person for two years - you must know her and be able to talk to her, right?

So if you sit down with her and say, "I want you to go, what is preventing you from leaving?" Then hopefully she'll come back with a response that you can address. So if she says, "I don't want this relationship to be over with..." then you can say, "Sorry babe, it's too late. You need to leave." If she says, "I can't afford to move, or I have no where to go..." then you can say, "Don't worry, I'm going to help you find a place. I'll even move you in."

If you've tried meeting her half way (or even more than half way) and you still can't get her to go, then it is time to consult with a lawyer.
posted by wfrgms at 12:34 PM on January 9, 2007


zzztimbo: "Aren't lawyers expensive? Should I just go to the police station and tell them what has happened?"

They're less expensive than the possibilities. Especially if you're planning to insist she pay rent (which I personally wouldn't advise; getting rid of her is going to be enough, and asking for more can make things very difficult), you need to talk to a lawyer. And they're not really incredibly expensive, if you find one who specializes. Call one, seriously.
posted by koeselitz at 12:35 PM on January 9, 2007


She does not take me seriously.

This sentence is key. Everybody's echoing "Get a lawyer!", and yeah, that might be what you have to do — but it should be your last resort. Saying that she doesn't take you seriously is a lot different than saying, "I've told her to leave but she refuses and replies that I can't throw her out."

What, exactly, has been the content of your discussions with her? You seem to be describing a situation where, irrespective of your impression of your own statements, you haven't successfully communicated your request to your ex. You should not go straight from subtly dropping passive-aggressive hints, to hiring an attorney.

Another alternative is that maybe you have clearly said, "Please move out"; but that, in a variety of other ways, you've sent mixed signals and obscured the message. Don't waffle. Explain clearly, "Whatever happened in our past, it's time to part ways. Please move out by [Month_Day]."

If you've done all this, then yes, you should consult an attorney. But if you tell that attorney, "She doesn't take me seriously," then he's going to ask the same questions: How have you communicated your wish? Would a reasonable person have "taken you seriously" — or does your ex have reason to think you haven't been serious?
posted by cribcage at 12:43 PM on January 9, 2007


Get another girlfriend. Have her parade around the house half nekkid. Seriously.
posted by Justin Case at 12:43 PM on January 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think the lawyer advice is the best. You own the home, and you potentially have a very great deal to lose here, depending on how nasty she wants to play. If you get a lawyer, he/she can forestall the worst of the possibilities.

The minimum cost is higher, but the maximum cost is much lower.
posted by Malor at 12:57 PM on January 9, 2007


cribcage writes "She does not take me seriously.

"This sentence is key. Everybody's echoing 'Get a lawyer!', and yeah, that might be what you have to do — but it should be your last resort."


I don't know. For me, the key sentences are "I'm afraid this will get ugly, because she has a child living with us too. She is also very manipulative and will probalby lie about being abused and what not." That sets off all sorts of "get a lawyer" alarms for me. You do not want to get in a position where she can take the initiative. If you're seriously afraid that this woman is going to come after you with both barrels, avoid talking to her and get yourself to a lawyer's office.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:59 PM on January 9, 2007


Can't I just live somewhere else for the next two months and then turn off: electricity, cable, water, gas, etc?

It's your house. You purchased it. Don't you think that perhaps you should take responsibility for your property, rather than running off and hoping she'll get bored and go away?
posted by desuetude at 1:06 PM on January 9, 2007


Does she know that she's your ex? Because it sure sounds like she doesn't.

You need to either sit her down and make it very clear that you're serious or get a lawyer and have him do it for you.
posted by bshort at 1:14 PM on January 9, 2007


Stop sleeping with her.
I bet she'll leave if the sex dries up.
posted by Methylviolet at 1:19 PM on January 9, 2007


because she has a child living with us too

Lots of people seem to be missing this part. Setting aside any legal issues about vacating the house, landlord/tennant law, turning off the utlities, etc., please don't leave this child in a situation where they might be living in an unheated home with no water, or evict them in such a way that might end up with this child living on the streets. I don't care how you feel about the mother, this isn't the child's fault - be as kind as possible given the circumstances.

I have told her on many occasions that I want her to move out

You need to start by notifying her in writing that she has 30 or 60 days (or whatever, but a reasonable amount of time) to move. Just you verbally saying "please move out" clearly isn't going to cut it here.

I've been through something like this (although there was neither romance nor children involved in the eviction), and sitting down with the person and giving him a written request to move - and getting him to sign it - was the key to having it really work.

Plus, if legal action gets involved, she needs to not be able to say "He never told me to leave".
posted by anastasiav at 1:44 PM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


In Georgia at least, there is an implied tenant/landlord relationship in almost any given situation and it takes time to evict someone, but its not hard. The rules should be online. For example in GA, in the absense of a lease you give the person a 60 day notice to evict. (Assuming they are not dangerous, doing illegal things, etc.) Then if they are not out, you go down to the local courthouse and file eviction papers, they are served, then they have a little bit of time to get out. Then if they are not out then, and only, then may you throw all their shit in the yard and change the locks.
posted by stormygrey at 1:48 PM on January 9, 2007


Oh! Googling "how to evict California" gives a 469 dollar evicition service that handles all the paperwork and legal fees and all.http://www.expressevictions.com/
posted by stormygrey at 1:50 PM on January 9, 2007


Get an attorney. Get an attorney. Get an attorney.

consider it a very real possibility that anything you fear might happen actually will. be prepared for the worst case scenario. that is how a mature person of sound mind deals with adverse situations.

Get an attorney.
posted by krautland at 2:01 PM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Give her a deadline. Take her out apartment hunting. Help her pay the deposit and help her get some minimum furnishings.
posted by theora55 at 2:11 PM on January 9, 2007


I want to reiterate the advice not to move out. Right now, you have an unwanted house guest (if she hasn't signed any lease, and her name isn't on any utility bills). If she were to live there for a couple of months without you, she has squatter's rights. That changes the situation entirely. You would have no choice but to go through a costly eviction, which she can drag out as long as she wants.

It varies from city to city, but this is California we're talking about. You may be the owner, but it's the tenants who have all the rights. Be careful not to turn this into a tenant/landlord issue. Keep it in terms of a relationship break-up. Try to work it out civilly. Tell her you want her to move out. If she doesn't work at leaving, set a deadline and make it clear. Help her find another place. Make sure she has somewhere else to go. If she isn't out by said date, move out her stuff and change the locks. At least then you have her out, and it will be on her to try and lawyer up and press charges or whatever else she wants to do, rather than you taking her to court and handing her the opportunity to bad mouth you.

It would be very difficult to get the courts to remove her. It will be even more difficult for her to get the courts to say you have to let her back in. Just be very calm and reasonable with her (and with the police when she calls them) and you should be fine. And an initial consultation with a lawyer isn't terribly expensive. Talk through your plans and make sure you're not breaking any laws. Just don't go straight to the "eviction" process, or you'll be stuck with it.
posted by team lowkey at 2:28 PM on January 9, 2007


I think hermitosis had the most sensible answer. Offer her some cash to move out, enough for her to get her own place etc. She may feel as trapped as you do. It would be worth it to get her out quickly without an eviction.
posted by lee at 3:16 PM on January 9, 2007


You own the house. She has no rights. None. I'd have a copy of my home ownership papers, call the police and get her removed from your place. She might sue you later but I do not see how she has any case.
posted by JayRwv at 4:22 PM on January 9, 2007


JayRwv writes "I'd have a copy of my home ownership papers, call the police and get her removed from your place. "

Did you miss this part of the question: "She is also very manipulative and will probalby lie about being abused and what not."?

Do you really think it's a good idea to bring the police into a tense domestic situation in this context?

Besides, she almost certainly does have some rights. She is most likely a tenant, and has to be served with eviction through the proper legal channels. The police aren't going to drag anyone out of their residence without an eviction notice. Especially if she has a kid with her.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:04 PM on January 9, 2007


You own the house. She has no rights. None. I'd have a copy of my home ownership papers, call the police and get her removed from your place. She might sue you later but I do not see how she has any case.

This is horrible advice. I'm not a lawyer, but JayRwv clearly isn't, either.
posted by oaf at 8:13 PM on January 9, 2007


If you call the police and tell them you need help putting your girlfriend onto the street, they're going to spend the whole drive to your place talking about the best way to kick your ass. The fact that she's a liar and a manipulator seals the lid on that situation. Next thing you know, you're in jail and she's the resident of your place. Then she gets a restraining order against you, which will be easy to do, considering that there will be a couple of cops eager to testify about the reasons they had to kick your ass to protect her.

Lawyer. Lawyer. Lawyer.
posted by bingo at 6:38 AM on January 10, 2007


IANAL - however, I wonder if offering money is an admission of responsibility in the eyes of the law. A good lawyer should be able to help you resolve this without having to need for legal action, if you know what I mean.
posted by plinth at 7:25 AM on January 10, 2007


I wouldnt offer her anything, other then physical help moving. First consult with a lawyer, then sit her down and give her 30-60 days notice to vacate the property, and make her sign it. If she doesnt sign, then contact your lawyer. If she does, then you have a document which the police will be obligated to enforce should the time come and she is still there.

As for the child, its unfortunate, but you have no obligation to take care of someone else's child, perhaps you ought to alert Child Services to the situation, but dont let her leech off you for the sake of her offspring.
posted by BobbyDigital at 10:30 AM on January 10, 2007


IANAL - however, I wonder if offering money is an admission of responsibility in the eyes of the law. A good lawyer should be able to help you resolve this without having to need for legal action, if you know what I mean.

I think Plinth may right. Get a a lawyer man.
IANAL either, but there's a reason why some people are: to provide legal advice when we don't know what to do. Don't be afraid of consulting one.

Any decent lawyer should give you a relatively cheap early view on the issues.
posted by tonylord at 12:03 PM on January 10, 2007


consult a lawyer - probably $200-$500, but find out what they say so you don't screw yourself. if you can move out and shut everything off that will be simplest.

buy and install some covert video-recording devices in case she starts trashing stuff (or attacks you) so you have evidence of criminal activity. check the CA laws regarding recording someone else, but you should be fine in the common areas of your home. if possible get her on record stating that you've never hit or abused her.

the key is to make her *want* to move...this means you have to make her staying increasingly unpleasant. the fact is that if you stop making her stay appealing she'll look for other options...right now she's got free rent and utilities, probably free food, etc.

her kid is not your problem or responsibility. it sucks for him/her to have a loser mom, but there's nothing you can do about it. also, while the cops probably won't be of much help (unless she assaults you or starts destroying your stuff), child-protective services will be all over her if she's being neglectful (which she would be if there were no furniture, etc.).

keep NO food or drinks in the house - eat all your meals elsewhere. turn off cable and phone (but keep the other utilities on unless a lawyer tells you otherwise). turn off the hot water. sell any TV/stereo/computer you have or put them in storage. get rid of every piece of furniture.

if she's legally your tenant you might be required to keep on electricity and water, but no comforts or conveniences are your responsibility (most likely - again, talk to a lawyer).

also, completely ignore her and do not speak to her no matter what; any time she talks or yells just point a video camera at her but otherwise ignore her.

you might try to find some thick-skinned roommates (bikers, college jocks) to move in for a month or two (think all-night parties, loud music, etc.). of course then you'll have to figure out how to get rid of them!

she is playing dirty and you may have to as well. just be prepared for her probable escalation and make sure you stay within the bounds of the law.
posted by jjsonp at 1:01 PM on January 10, 2007


I so want to know how this turned out. please post for future reference.
posted by krautland at 2:21 PM on January 10, 2007


I think that oaf is off the mark.

* Evict her in writing
* Call the County Sheriff's Department. NOT the local police department. Evictions are usually handled by the Sheriff. Explain the situation. They might even send out an officer to explain things to her.

Don't leave the place unattended for a long period of time. Don't play with the utilities. Make sure that everything is in your name.

Call the Sheriff before spending the money on a lawyer. And the others are right - if it's not your kid, it's not your responsibility. Don't let her use the kid to sucker you.

And stop fucking her if you are. That's step #1.
posted by drstein at 6:58 PM on January 10, 2007


« Older Duct tape wart removal. Detai...   |  StatisticsFilter: I have a set... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.