How to Put a Friend or Relative out of Your House

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How to Put a Friend or Relative out of Your House

Three Methods:

Being called upon to help a friend or relative out during tough times is a situation many find themselves in. Most of us are glad to help, for a short period of time at least. Should you find yourself in the position where you have a house guest that turns into a long-term roommate, it can be difficult to evict them without drama.


Asking Someone to Leave

  1. Determine why you want them to leave.You need to be clear with your own reasoning before diving into the conversation. Review any agreements you made when they moved in, or any promises that have been made/broken. Assess the situation and their current behavior, grounding your reasoning in fact. While "I don't like living with them" is an acceptable reason to ask someone to move, you want concrete details, like "they never do the dishes," "they said they would leave months ago," etc. before talking to them.
    • Write down the issues as they occur, along with the date. You want a detailed, specific record of their behavior in case things get difficult.
    • This conversation will not be easy, and it will more than likely damage your relationship. However, living together with serious differences or issues will also hurt your friendship, so you need to take a stand if they've been there too long.
    • If you have set ground rules before they moved in, the conversation may not be that difficult. It's best to sign a contract outlining expectations before anyone moves into your home.
  2. Speak with a reasonable and respectful tone of voice.Although you may be feeling violated, fed up, or sick and tired, it is important not to explode and make unreasonable demands. Lay out your reasons for asking them to leave, and let them know that you understand how hard this is. Speak to them as you would a co-worker, sticking to the facts and not emotional outbursts.
    • Say, "We've enjoyed having you, but we unfortunately need our space back and have to ask you to leave in the next two weeks."
    • Depending on the reason why they are staying with you, you may need to gather information on community assistance services to help them move out in time. If they are at risk for living in their car or on the streets, help them get in contact with emergency homeless-prevention services. They may even be able to get temporary housing.
    • Stick to the reasons you drafted earlier. If they've been a problem or broken promises, remind them that they have not held up their end of the bargain and need to move on to a new environment.
  3. Provide detailed, impersonal examples of why they need to leave.Do not respond with "because I hate you," or "because you're lazy." Give them tangible examples instead of insulting them. This is where a list will come in handy. If they are a constant source of issues, write down each incident and the date as they arise. When they ask "why," mention 2-3 specific times where they broke a promise or caused you trouble.
    • Focus on your reasons for asking them to leave, not all of their flaws, whenever possible. "We need more space," "We can't afford to keep you here anymore," etc.
  4. Provide a firm date they need to leave by.Telling them that they need to leave that night may cause incredible stress and tension, and your friend or relative may not have anywhere to go. Instead, choose a date they need to leave by and let them know that this is a firm deadline. In general, try and give at least 1-2 weeks, or until the end of the month, so that they have some time to prepare for their next move.
    • "I'd like you completely moved out by April 20th."
    • If there is a legitimate reason why that date is bad, you can talk with them to find a better day. However, don't shift by more than 3-5 days.
  5. Seek out information or alternatives as a good will gesture.If you have the resources, compile some ideas to help your guest's relocation process. You can even bring these with you to the discussion, letting them know that they need to leave but that there are options available. They may reject your ideas, but showing that you still care about their well-being can soften the blow.
  6. Be firm, clear, and consistent about your decision.Once you've decided to put them out, hold your ground. This conversation could get messy, and emotions will flair up no matter how prepared you are. You need to stand firm, however, and stick to your decision. If your housemate convinces you to change your mind, they'll realize that they can continue breaking rules and promises without ever changing. If things are so bad that you're going to put them out, you need to be ready to really put them out.
  7. Understand that this may damage or ruin your relationship.Putting out a friend or relative is stressful, and will most likely lead to lingering hard feelings. Ultimately, however, you need to remember that keeping them in your house for too long can damage your relationship just as much. If you are constantly in conflict, your friend/relative is taking advantage of you, or you are simply incompatible living partners, then your relationship will only turn toxic if you stay under the same roof. That said, there are ways to try and keep your friendship alive. You can:
    • Help them find their new place or job.
    • Avoid insults, even in tense situations. If they are angry, stay calm and reiterate why it is important to you that they find a new place to live. Don't start slinging insults.
    • Set up times to meet, have them over for dinner, and continue seeing each other as friends.
    • If you get into a big fight, or have serious disagreements, then it may be best to cut them off completely.

Legally Removing People

  1. Send a certified letter asking them to leave in 30 days or less.While a house guest is not technically a tenant, certain tenant-landlord laws still apply to the relationship if they've been with your for more than 30 days.Talk to an attorney who will help you draft and send an eviction notice. Giving this advance warning, in writing, is essential to protect your liability.
    • This warning will legally establish them as an "at-will tenant." You need this status if you have to pursue legal action, so do not skip it.
    • Be wary how you word the letter so that they can't use tenant laws to prevent you from evicting them. Check your individual state's policies, and make it clear what type of living arrangement you had with the person, especially if they are not paying any rent.
  2. File an official tenant eviction order with your local courts.If they still won't leave, you can take them to court. If they paid for groceries or any bills, they may legally be an "at-will tenant," making it much harder to kick them out legally.If they ignore the first written warning, you'll need to file a formal eviction proceedings with your local district court in order to get them out.
    • If you plan on a court order, you should be prepared with a list of issues and infractions (known as "just cause for eviction") as well as a copy of your lease and any agreements.
    • Generally, your letter will outline a place for them to receive their belongings in the event that they don't move, as well as the specific date their stuff will be removed from your house.
  3. Do not change the locks unless you are worried about your safety.If you suddenly lock out an at-will tenant, especially if their belongings are still in the house, you could be the target of costly civil suits and legal action. Changing the locks on a guest, if it causes problems or cuts them off from their property, can even get you jail time in the wrong circumstances. Moreover, it often inflames already high tensions and can lead to further issues.
    • Once you have a court order, and/or have notified the police that you are worried about your safety, you can safely change your locks.
  4. Call the police if they still refuse to leave.Unless they are a legitimate resident of the house, usually determined if they receive mail or are on the lease, they can be removed from your property as a "trespasser." Obviously, involving the police is for the most extreme cases, and even the mentioning of 911 is often enough to finally get someone out the door. Some police offices will refuse to get involved in a matter like this. However, if you've sent the letter and/or filed for eviction with a court, they will come remove your guest as a trespasser.

Setting Ground-Rules for House Guests

  1. Set your rules and boundaries early on.If you start to get the feeling someone is becoming more of a roommate and less of a visitor, set some ground rules as soon as possible. This gives you something to stand on when you eventually need to kick them out -- you can point back to the concrete rules laid down earlier instead of getting emotional.
    • Set your expectations within the first week. Do they need to pay rent? Do they have to be pursuing job interviews? Have clear benchmarks for them to meet if they want to stay in the house.
    • A written and signed informal contract is they best way to set the rules and guidelines and what each of you expect. It's even better to have the document notarized. Most banks offer free notaries to those who bank there.
  2. Make a timeline for their departure.Before formally asking them to leave, sit down and ask when they plan on moving out. Put the ball in their court, which makes it easier to stick to this move-out date as it approaches. If they don't a timeline in mind, you should make one together. Come up with something concrete, such as "when they get a job," or "after 6 months."
    • If they need a job, work together to come up with specific goals to reach for -- applying to one job a day, rewriting their resume, etc. Make sure they are actually trying to get a job and not just enjoying the free bed.
    • If you aren't sure whether or not they should move in, make a trial period. Tell them when they move in that they have 2-3 months, at which point you're not sure if they can stay.
  3. Make notes of issues and problems as they arise.If your friend or relative is breaking the rules, being disrespectful, or going back on their promises to you, write down the incident along with the date and time in a small notebook. Again, this gives you specifics to bring up when you talk to them about leaving, instead of vague generalities or emotional appeals.
    • Keep this as impersonal as possible. Asking them to leave doesn't have to ruin a friendship, especially if you base your reasons in facts instead of feelings.
  4. Help them get back on their feet.Some people will get out on their own with a bit of careful nudging. Read over their resumes and cover letters as they apply to jobs, visit open houses with them, and encourage them to spread out and become independent. If you can help someone become self-sufficient, they may leave without causing a conflict.
    • Review their goals and promises together regularly, working together to make them a reality.
    • If you can help finance their new move, this may be all they need to get going.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How do I get someone to move out after our relationship is terminated?

    Licensed Master Social Worker
    Tasha Rube is a Licensed Master Social Worker in Missouri. She received her MSW from the University of Missouri in 2014.
    Licensed Master Social Worker
    Expert Answer
    Follow the suggestions in this article. If the the relationship has terminated, and you are the primary tenant or owner of the home, then you have the responsibility of letting your ex know that you want them to leave. If you are renting, inform your landlord of this change in status. If you own your home and the individual will not get out, notify your the authorities, such as by calling the police.
  • Question
    How can I move my partner's family out of our house?

    Licensed Master Social Worker
    Tasha Rube is a Licensed Master Social Worker in Missouri. She received her MSW from the University of Missouri in 2014.
    Licensed Master Social Worker
    Expert Answer
    First discuss this with your partner, and let them know of your concerns and wishes for the family to be removed. Make sure you both are on board with the plan. Then have the both of you sit down and speak with your partner's family together with your partner's full support.
  • Question
    How do I deal with an abusive child?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Read up on tough love -- James Dobson has a book on it. Then use the courts to evict that child if he is not a minor, or get social services involved is he is still a minor.
  • Question
    How long do I have to hold someone's possessions after I have kicked them out?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Depends on any existing agreements with said person. If, for example, you have told them you will hold onto their items for a month, and it has been two months, it would be time for you to tell them to pick the items up on a suggested date. Suggesting multiple dates is also useful as it gives them more opportunities to find a good time. If the agreed dates have passed and the items are still in your possession, I suggest donating them, but first make sure you have a record of your agreement with the other person.
  • Question
    How do I get rid of a friend that works but doesn't pay his child support or rent?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Talk to him about his situation and remind him that if he does not pay rent, he cannot expect to stay rent-free. Reassure him that you will be there for him as a friend, but you can no longer give him leeway because he is not fulfilling his obligations.
  • Question
    I let a friend stay at my apartment for a while, and then I decided to move in with my boyfriend. I gave 30 days notice, but my friend refuses to leave the apartment even though I am moved out. What do I do?
    Gigi King
    Community Answer
    Take your name off the lease, inform the landlord you are leaving, and take everything out of your name, including the utilities.
  • Question
    Can I legally put someone out of my home if they aren't sharing the mortgage or duties?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, but you must give at least a week notice. Ideally, it would be best if the person finds a place to stay before you kick them out, but not everyone will do that. There are some housing charities you can contact and explain the situation to them if you need advice.
  • Question
    I'm on section 8 and I let someone visit and they don't want to leave now. What can I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    This one is easy. Tell your friend that due to section 8 rules, they have to move or you can lose your housing and any future housing with them. This is not a lie, it is true. Section 8 has very strict rules that can be cause for removal if not followed. Let him/her know that you would really like to help out, but you cannot take the chance of losing your home.
  • Question
    How do I get rid of a relative's items that have been stored in my garage?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Notify the owner of a date by which they must remove their property. If they don't, you can get a court order in civil court for a small fee to remove the property.
  • Question
    My adopted son and his wife with two kids moved in with us. A year later, they don't want to move out and do not help. I kicked them out today, and they are harassing me, calling me to give them a second chance. They are manipulators and con artists. What can I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Call the non-emergency police line. They are trying to trespass on your property when you have clearly stated they can't live there anymore. They also are harassing you, which you can use against them. If the calls are frequent, try to record them.
Unanswered Questions
  • How do I get someone out of my house if I'm on section 8?
  • How do I get someone out of my home when they're a deadbeat?
  • Can I turn off the electricity in a home I own to help encourage a squatter to leave?
  • How do I get a relative out of my child's home?
  • How can I kick some family members after many years of responsible acts and don't pay rent on time?
Ask a Question
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  • Emotions must be controlled at all costs. The goal here is not to have a brawl but a successful discussion of your wishes and how your guest must respect them.
  • In most cases, you should try and have this discussion 1 on 1. Feeling ganged up can make people feel attacked and cause them to lash out.


  • Make sure you are not angry. If you are angry regarding a particular event or situation wait until you are clear headed to move forward with any discussion.
  • Make sure your guest has no valuable items of yours at the onset of an eviction discussion.

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