Can You Evict a Relative or a Guest?

We get asked this question a lot. Instead of answering it by email, I decided to collect opinions from a couple of attorneys. 

This is from an article from the Orlando Sentinel. The attorneys Lambson and Brown are discussing what is the best solution to get a relative out of the house if they won’t leave and they don’t have a written lease.

Lambson-Eisele: Probably the easiest course to pursue would be a trespass, or ejectment, assuming the son was not on the title and the parents had given notice he was no longer welcome. … If he was given plenty of time to vacate on his own terms and if he didn’t do it within the time allowed by the parent, an injunction would likely be entered at some point.

Brown: Generally, you can bring an action for eviction and then an alternative of an unlawful detainer. Frequently, the family member will pop up and say the owner allowed them to stay if they fixed up the home or paid rent. … An unlawful detainer action is for a matter of there being no rental agreement, there’s no rent to be paid.

Here is another opinion I found in the attorney Ryan Shipp’s blog. He gives a great explanation of who is a tenant and who is a guest. 

What first needs to be determined is if a Landlord-Tenant relationship has been created. In simple terms, was money or rent exchanged for the ability to stay at the home? If your answer is NO, depending on a few factors that an experienced Unlawful Detainer Attorney will analyze, you must likely will have an action for Unlawful Detainer in order to regain exclusive possession of the home.

Definitions Not Associated With Unlawful Detainers

  • “Landlord” means the owner or lessor of a dwelling unit.
  • “Tenant” means any person entitled to occupy a dwelling unit under a rental agreement.
  • “Premises” means a dwelling unit and the structure of which it is a part and a mobile home lot and the appurtenant facilities and grounds, areas, facilities, and property held out for the use of tenants generally.
  • “Rent” means the periodic payments due the landlord from the tenant for occupancy under a rental agreement and any other payments due the landlord from the tenant as may be designated as rent in a written rental agreement.
  • “Rental agreement” means any written agreement, including amendments or addenda, or oral agreement for a duration of less than 1 year, providing for use and occupancy of premises.

Read the whole blog post here.

One thing I would like you to consider before evicting anyone. Most property managers and apartment communities will not rent to anyone who has had an eviction in the last seven years. 

Depending on who you want to remove from your home, a better option may be to get them to sign a lease with an expiration date and charge them a small amount of rent.  If they don’t leave by that date, you can evict them.

I think it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney and get a professional opinion. You can find attorneys we work with in our Directory.


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