How do you force your child to move out of your house?


Attorney Tom Olsen: Rob, we had an interesting email the other day. It was from a lady who literally was trying to get her son out of the house. Do you remember that?
Attorney Rob Solomon: I do.

Attorney Tom Olsen: She was asking whether she had right to just change the locks and lock her son, he was an adult; by the way, lock him out or whether she had go through some eviction process. What was your response to her?

Attorney Rob Solomon: Well, this always comes down to whether or not the son constitutes being a tenant. If you have your relative in the house and they are paying rent or expected to pay rent, then actually they become a tenant. You have to follow landlord-tenant law in which case, you’d be prohibited from changing locks or turning the electricity off or anything like that. If he’s just there with your consent and you terminate consent, in my view, they're nothing more than a trespasser at that point. You’re not covered by landlord-tenant law. Really, the police should help you remove that person. They don’t always do that, but they are not covered by landlord-tenant law, so you could effectively do that. 

Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, I do want to add this Rob, that in case we should get a question from somebody who is a tenant where they are not literally paying rent dollar-wise, but they are doing services, whether they’re mowing the lawn, that could have been the son’s job, “Hey, you can stay here as long as you mow the lawn and keep your room clean,”  or on occasion, we have people that move into houses with the understanding they’re going to fix them up just because they’re not paying dollar rent but they still might be in a landlord-tenant relationship.

Attorney Rob Solomon: That constitutes rent, so things other than cash or money but an agreement to do something is rent, rent of a type and rent enough to be covered by the landlord-tenant law.

Attorney Tom Olsen: This is out of curiosity, Rob, did you hear back from that lady after you gave her that advice about how it went for her?

Attorney Rob Solomon: I haven’t yet, but you never know. 

Attorney Tom Olsen: Alright.  Thank you, Rob. I appreciate it.

Attorney Rob Solomon: You’re welcome.

Attorney Tom Olsen: I was concerned about her because I think her son was not such a good guy. I was concerned about what it would be like as a parent to lock your adult child out of your house, what his reaction might be when he comes home to find that’s happened to him. I hope everything went well for her.