Go Back   LegalMatch Free Legal Advice Forums > Real Estate and Property Law Forum > Landlord-Tenant Law
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Find a Lawyer Now By Category:
Family & Divorce Criminal Defense Job & Employment Personal Injury LegalMatch on Facebook
  Real Estate Lawyers Immigration Business Lawyers Other Lawyers LegalMatch on Twitter
LegalMatch is Fast, Free and Confidential
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-07-2007, 01:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1
need advice on how to evict someone living in my house without a lease

a year ago, my husband and I let his parents, brother and nephew move in to a house that we own. On July 4th, while we were at this house celebrating his brother came home drunk and assaulted me and his sister and threatened us. We want him out of the house, but dont know how to go about it. We live in Texas and there was never a lease and we weren't charging rent.

Last edited by mardan62; 07-07-2007 at 01:53 PM.
mardan62 is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2007, 06:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 463
Quote:
Originally Posted by mardan62 View Post
a year ago, my husband and I let his parents, brother and nephew move in to a house that we own. On July 4th, while we were at this house celebrating his brother came home drunk and assaulted me and his sister and threatened us. We want him out of the house, but dont know how to go about it. We live in Texas and there was never a lease and we weren't charging rent.
Have you provided either written or verbal notification to vacate? Better yet, have you contacted your local police or sheriff's department to find out what you as the property owners need to do in order to reclaim your property where no written lease exists?

Just an opinion, but because you've allowed them to stay as long as you have, I believe it could be argued that a month to month lease exists, even if no rents were paid. Standard procedure in that instance would require notice to vacate dated anywhere from 30-60 days ahead of time. Although the property is in your name (not in your tenants,) it's a pretty safe bet a certain procedure exists in order to reclaim your property. If your local police/ sheriff's department can't help, a quick call to a real estate attorney should clear this up for you.

You've an unusual situation here. Typically when a request is first made verbally and then followed up by written notification, the "tenants" will usually vacate fairly quickly. They have no legal right to the property. Hopefully, that'll be the case for you as well. If you don't think that'll happen here, at least you'll be prepared for the next step ahead of time.

Good luck.

**Note: Since posting my initial response, I've had a chance to ask a few questions of 2 personal acquaintences, both former/retired police officers from different parts of the country. Both opinions were strikingly similar: a situation such as yours is typically considered a civil action and most likely, you'd be referred to your local county sheriff's department. Both are also of the same mindset that a tenant position exists in this kind of living arrangement by sheer virtue of any utility bills, etc that your relatives can produce after living there as long as they have. Without some sort of eviction order, they couldn't proceed in a case such as this. It may be a simple as your written notification to your tenants that they must vacate within the next 30-60 days. (Check your local statutes for the minimum timeframe.) If they don't leave by then, your county sheriff may be able to review the circumstances and then issue the actual eviction notice, which may give them another 30-45 days. At the end of that time, if again they still haven't vacated, the sheriff's department will arrive on scene to escort them off of the property. That being said, your jurisdiction has its own set of requirements and it's best you contact them for guidance. It's no 'legal secret' that they won't/can't offer legal advice, but they WILL answer questions as to their own procedure and what type of documentation you'll need in order to pursue this with their intervention.

Interestingly enough, one of them mentioned the same word that occurred to me when I first read your post. While I'm not remotely suggesting a "squatter" exists in your particular situation, I think you should be aware that in your state particularly, there are documented cases where "squatter's rights" have resulted in legal transfer of property ownership. You may want to think about that one for a moment.

If for whatever reason, you decide to drop the entire thought of eviction, I can't help but strongly suggest at the very least, you protect yourself with a written lease. The monthly rent can be nominal if you like, the terms as conservative/liberal as you prefer but at least you'll have established a standard tenant-landlord relationship .. and your ownership of the property very clearly protected. Again, good luck.

**I've forwarded you link. Obviously, it's an example of what can happen and how it can be accomplished. It's just something for you to think about, worst case scenario. Yes, it can be done legally.**

Last edited by TheJury'sStillOut; 07-08-2007 at 08:14 PM.
TheJury'sStillOut is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2007, 03:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,930
Send a message via AIM to GentleGrace
"Squatters" is a complicated part of a legal term called "Adverse possession". Adverse possession is when title to a property is transferred against and in opposition to the owners wishes. When only part of the property in question is being challenged, the issue of prescriptive easements arises.

It is not legally accurate to call someone you voluntarily allowed to live in your home or a home you own "squatters". Squatters occupy the property in question against the wishes of the owner. You, in fact, state you allowed your relatives to live in the house, so they cannot be considered squatters and cannot lay claim against your title. Adverse possession as well as prescriptive easements take years to establish--in my state it is fifteen years. It requires ( among other things ) open, hostile , continuous, notorious, etc. use of the property. Since, at one time these family members were living there with your permission, it would be impossible to argue adverse possession.

Example: twelve years ago, an owner of the house I currently own sold this house while retaining easement on the driveway to get to other property behind my house she owned and was renting out. However, her attorney failed to record the easement on the record. Several people have owned the house in the meanwhile, never questioning her right to use the property. However, I challenged it immediately since there was no easement on record. She filed a lis pendens against my property, suing me for reformation of the deed, stating her attorney "inadvertently" forgot to record the easement. However, I prevailed in court since I was a bonafied purchaser for value and her "inadvertent" neglect to secure her interest in the property was not justification for the decrease in my property value that would result if I was required to give up my sole ownership of my driveway. Her argument was similiar to "squatters" in that she had been using the property for so long, she should be allowed to lay claim to my title and assert joint ownership of my driveway. As I mentioned, her argument failed, in part because she had only been using the driveway for 12 years, and not the requisite 15 years required by my state.

I said all of that to say adverse possession---"squatters" is not remotely possible in your situation simply because there has not been open, continuous, hostile, etc use of your property for an extended period of time--usually 12-15 years in most states. And, the complicated nature of adverse possession doesn't lend itself to the common vernacular of the average street-beat police officer who, for the most part, has never darkened the door of a law class room in his life. Also, when my lawsuit began with the former owner of my property, I had more than one police officer misinform me and tell me I could not block her access to our "shared driveway"--and they had no interest in the legality of their position--my sole deed not withstanding. Police men are not lawyers and in my situation I was offered in writing a formal apology(per written instruction of the Mayor ) on behalf of two police officers that instructed me I "had" to allow this woman access to my property. I said all of that to say the average police officer does not have, for the most part, adequate education when it comes to describing the nuances of prescriptive easements and adverse possession.

That being said, what you are describing can be rectified by a simple form called ( in my state ) a notice to vacate. You go to the magistrate, ask for the form, fill it out, and they serve it upon the occupants of the house---the fact they pay rent or don't pay rent is irrelevant. No implied lease exists because they aren't paying. However, permission to live there IS implied and that is the legal relationship that must be terminated. A call to the magistrate in your locality should solve the problem nicely. Asking procedural questions in this form is highly difficult since laws vary not only from state to state but from municipality to municipality. You need to contact the authorities where you live and simply ask.

In the mean while, I wouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about losing the title to your property to your drunken family members.
__________________
Grace

To ERR is human.
To FORGIVE is divine.
NEITHER is my policy.
GentleGrace is offline  
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:01 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.1.0
Copyright ©1999-2008 LegalMatch. All rights reserved. LegalMatch®, the LegalMatch
logo, and the tradedress are trademarks of LegalMatch. Patents Pending.