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Can I put someone out who is not on the lease?

Generally, yes. Someone without a lease may be evicted, or removed from a property, so long as state and local laws are followed.

Most landlords will require all adults who live in a rental property to have their name and signature on the lease. They usually also include wording in the lease that keeps non-signers from living in the rental. But sometimes, a roommate moves in who is not on the lease. If the landlord needs to evict the tenants because they are not following the terms of the lease, the extra roommate can cause problems.

Different states have different laws, but you will likely need to let the extra roommate know, in writing, that you are ending the living arrangement and evicting the tenant (the person who signed the lease). In that letter, you can usually give the extra roommate a deadline to move out. You may need to give them the same amount of notice that is required for a tenant, which in most states is 30 days. In areas with strong renter protections, it is smart to consult an attorney as soon as you discover the additional person living on the property.

An Eviction Process Worksheet can help you prepare for an eviction by organizing the relevant information to help you or your attorney evaluate your options.

How do I evict a tenant or short-term renter who will not leave after their lease or rental agreement ends?

When a tenant comes to the end of a lease term but will not leave the property, they are known as a holdover tenant. If your state does not allow holdover, you may be able to treat the former tenant as a trespasser. If you stop accepting rent and send an Eviction Notice, they may have to leave. You may be able to evict them using your local eviction processes. However, landlords may want to be careful to not take actions themselves to remove tenants, such as changing the locks, as most states restrict what actions a landlord can take themselves to physically remove a tenant. 

Some states allow a certain holdover time. To remove the holdover tenant in those states, you may need to give them notice that is as long as the rent payment period. For example, if you collect rent every 30 days, you may need to give the tenant 30 days' notice to leave the property. If they choose not to leave during that time, you can likely evict them.

How long can a guest stay before being considered a tenant?

Tenants who like to have guests over sometimes let guests stay longer than they are supposed to. This can be a problem because you have not checked their background and because some state or local laws will turn that guest into a tenant after a certain period of time, even if they have not signed a lease.

A Lease Agreement can limit overnight guests so that they must leave before they can be considered a tenant. Local laws may specify this time frame, but it is up to a landlord to enforce. For example, you may require tenants to get permission for any guests who stay for 14 days during a six-month period or for seven nights in a row on the property. You may even require that a guest be approved and added to the Lease Agreement if they will stay for longer than the time permitted for guests by the lease.

By stating these terms clearly in the original Lease Agreement, you are more likely to be able to protect yourself if you need to evict a tenant and a long-term guest they brought to their home.

Can a live-in caregiver be evicted?

Sometimes, elderly tenants or tenants with disabilities need help around the clock. Live-in caregivers add another layer to the Lease Agreement and eviction question. If an elderly tenant or a tenant with a disability requests permission to have a live-in caregiver, whether or not you are fine with that, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney before communicating with your tenant or taking any further action. A tenant who has a disability has certain rights and there may be federal, state, or local laws that govern the right to have a live-in caregiver. In this situation, it may be best to ask a lawyer to learn about the rules and regulations that cover live-in caregivers.

It is also important to consult with an attorney if a live-in caregiver is already living with a tenant and you need to evict the tenant and caregiver, or just the caregiver. Your specific situation must be assessed by a lawyer to make sure you are not violating federal, state, and local laws by pursuing an eviction.

How do I evict a squatter?

A squatter is someone who is living on your property without authorization. A squatter could be someone who breaks into an empty or abandoned property and proceeds to live there. A squatter can also be someone who was originally allowed to live on the property, but is now refusing to leave. When you have a squatter, you may need to first call the police and let them know about the problem. If the police are unable to get them to leave, you may need to pursue an eviction. 

Evicting a squatter, like evicting a tenant, requires sending an Eviction Notice. If the squatter refuses to leave, you may need to file an eviction lawsuit. If you win the case, you may still need to ask the local police or sheriff to remove the squatter, if they do not leave voluntarily after the case.

If you have more questions about evicting tenants who do not have a lease, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


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