How can I have a house given to me?

No, really. My sister has mental and physical issues, and there is a toxic person in her house. I think this person is her ‘husband’s’ niece. She has hit my sister, pushed my sister down stairs, verbally abused her, and bullied her. My sister had a small slice of turkey on Thanksgiving, and when she wanted another one The Harpy wouldn’t let her. The Harpy said, ‘I bought the turkey, and I can do what I want with it!’ ‘Doing what she wants with it’ did not include letting my sister have more than a morsel. I’ve called Adult Protective Services on her before.

The thing is, my sister, her ‘husband’, and my nephew all live off of my sister’s disability checks. It should be easy to evict The Harpy, right? Nope. My sister is too beaten down to take the necessary steps. Her ‘husband’ won’t do anything. My nephew (who turned 18 this year) is on the autism scale and feels intimidated by The Harpy. The Harpy abuses my sister, which makes her crazy. When my sister’s crazy, it makes her ‘husband’ crazy. It’s gotten to the point where he’s had it and telling my sister, ‘If you don’t like it here, leave!’ Um… Chuckles? It’s her house, and you’re sponging off of her disability!

So my nephew asked me how my sister can give her house to me. If I own the house, then I’ll be the landlord. As the landlord, I can (and will) initiate eviction procedures against The Harpy.

So… If my sister agrees that giving me the house will A) Remove The Harpy from her life; and B) Ensure that she doesn’t get kicked out of her own home, how do we do it?


I guess your sister can sell you the house. You’ll have to take over payments, assuming there’s a mortgage.

Not answering the question you asked, but here goes: Next time, skip Adult Services and call the police.

There’s no mortgage. I can’t afford to buy her house with money, so it would have to be a ‘gift’ or a ‘cashless transfer of ownership’. Which sounds skeevy, only I really am an honest person. She’d get to live in the house for the rest of her life, once she’s gone I can give it to my nephew, and I could make sure nobody takes it from her.

I’m not sure I can call the police/sheriff from 1,400 miles away and have it do any good. I told my nephew to call the cops on The Harpy if he needs to.

Is there a mortgage on this house?

If not, she can give it to you fairly straightforwardly. She’ll have to file a gift declaration with the IRS, but assuming the home is worth less than $5.4 million, and assuming she hasn’t given away lots of other assets in her lifetime, she won’t have to pay gift taxes.

If there is a mortgage or other lien, things get more complicated.

I think she should just be able to quit claim the house to you. My mother did that of a house she owned, and my brother now has full ownership (since there are no other claims against the house).

This is a simple process. You may want to talk the County Clerk and Recorder where the house is located. That’s where the deed is filed. A lawyer too as everyone will say it.

Removing said harpy may still be difficult, and will likely involve the sheriff.

You can buy the house from your sister and she can hold the mortgage. You’ll need to check out the details with a lawyer and/or accountant but you may be able to make this a valid transaction with some minimal monthly mortgage payment.

I would talk to your tax person, because you might have to declare it as income. Someone can give you a certain amount (I think it’s ~11k) without triggering taxes, but I expect the house is well above that amount.

Didn’t think about taxes. Sounds like it will be expensive if she gives me the house (taxes) or suing whomever if she gets kicked out of the home she owns.

Talk to a real estate attorney in your area. Even if it costs a few hundred dollars, it’ll be money well spent. You’ll want to make sure this is all fully legal since you don’t want the freeloaders to have any claim to sue. You’ll also want to use the attorney during the eviction since you don’t want them to drag it out.

One option might be to just add your name to the title. So rather than her selling the house, you are both on the title as if you bought it together.

Of course, this may be all for naught, since she can just invite everyone back (or hook up with a new set of freeloaders). You may have to evict on a regular basis if you can’t get her to say no to people. Freeloaders are drawn to mentally incapacitated people with regular monthly income. The problem isn’t over when this batch leaves.

You as the owner will be responsible for the taxes, as well as maintaining homeowners insurance which you definitely need as an absentee owner.

Could your sister give you power of attorney that would allow you evict the Harpy?

Not relevant to the OP’s question, and forgive me for prying, but I’m curious:

What’s the deal with you repeatedly referring to the SO as ‘husband.’

Are they not actually “officially” married? Is it a common law marriage in a non-common-law-marriage state or something like that?

My area, just below the Canadian border? Or her area, just above the Mexican border?

So as ‘co-owner’ I could initiate eviction proceedings?

I already pay the taxes, though she pays the insurance.

I don’t know anything about PoA.

They’re not married, though they’ve been together for, like, 30 years. California is not a common law state (thank the gods).

Note what Friedo said above. If your sister is willing to give up some of her lifetime exemption for estate/gift taxes she should be able to give it to you tax free. By all means check with an expert, but I suspect this can be done painlessly.

Can she just make you the property manager rather than the owner if making you the owner causes tax and other legal difficulties?

Would a limited power of attorney of some kind which would give you the right to control her assets work?

I’d suggest selling the house, and then moving her over near where you live. Get her a new place and you can then keep an eye on her.

First, get a local (your sister’s locality, that is) lawyer to advise you on the easiest way to get the legal authority to evict these deplorables.

One thing you should specifically ask about is whether getting your sister to add you to the deed would suffice to give you that authority. I suggest this because (a) there’d be no tax consequences, and (b) the only cost to you and/or your sister would be paying a lawyer to handle that change. Probably a few hundred bucks total, including filing fees at the county land records office. So it’s a comparatively easy route if it suffices.

Then how do you expect to evict her from 1,400 miles away?

You shouldn’t have to call 911, but call the police in that area and tell them of your concerns.

This seems like a very convoluted way to deal with the issue. Have you tried talking to The Harpy yourself?

Why not? If you find out about something in a timely manner (you might get lucky & call your sister right after something happened) you could report it. Call the local authorities during normal business hours, explain the situation & ask them to give you a 10-digit phone # to their dispatch center. I did this this weekend when we were out of the area & someone called to tell us that our parked car had been hit by a Papa John’s delivery guy. :mad: Had we been home, I would have probably just exchanged info, but since we weren’t there, I wanted PD assistance to get his info & fill out a report.
I don’t know what state she lives in, but many places allow you to do a sale/title transfer for $1, so maybe you could afford to buy it from her. :wink:
Also, a POA, as hajario suggested might be easier.