Rental Question

I have been renting out my basement to a woman for about three years. Recently her behaviour has become intolerable.
I have never had to kick out a renter before. What do I need to write in a letter to her asking her to leave? I would prefer to not state why I want her to leave, just the fact that she needs to leave. How much time do I need to give her before she is expected to be out? Is 30 days the norm?


I would seriously recommend you contact an attorney on this matter.

I once kicked out a roommate who was 3 months behind on bills. I told her why, and gave her until the end of the month, unless she caught up. She didn’t, and moved out.

I found out that she had to leave her next place 3 weeks later because she was too messy (in her room only. She was the same way at my house, but I didn’t care about that.). I also found out that she was fired from her job at a pawn shop/check cashing place because she was embezzling.

Gotta admit. This has 'attourney consultation written all over it.

See an Attorney. But IMHO,… You don’t mention if you have a signed written lease agreement with her. If you don’t, you can do anything you damnwell please, she’s trespassing. If you do, then you have to abide by wathever process is outlined in that agreement.

I agree, consult an attorney. I’m the manager of a 44 unit Section 8 complex and you must give at least 30 days notice. Tape one to her door and mail one also. If i’m not mistaken you will need to give some reason why you are evicting her especially if you end up in front of a judge. If you don’t mind my asking, what bizarre behavior is the tenant exhibiting? Is there a signed lease? Just curious.

Unfortunately, this may not be the case depending on the jurisdiction you’re in. Some states (New York comes to mind) are very pro-tenant and are willing to deem an unwritten relationship to be subject to all kinds of rights when housing is at stake. Please do see an attorney - it may cost you a bit up-front, but if it turns out your roommate-tenant-what-have-you has rights, the costs of getting rid of her the “wrong” way could be pretty high.

Best of luck to you - it’s a sucky situation. OxyMoron, Esq. (admitted in New York only and retired from active practice.)

I would prefer to know the state or country. But Im with the others, a lawyer would be a nice
idea. Maybe ?

IANAL but I rent a room to someone and damn near ended up losing my house when they stopped paying.

In CA I believe the term is that the person has “taken up residence” at the location in question. If they have paid rent at all there is some kind of default tenant status that applies. I was told by my local Police during a messy tenant departure that I have to give them 30 days notice no matter what. Once the 30 days notice is issued give them 27 days then you go to your courthouse and they can issue you a official legal 72 hour notice (costs like $150) If they still don’t get out, you call the police and the police will remove them from the property. IIRC when it gets to that point the cops dont dillydally with them, its just get out now. No collecting belongings, too bad, you knew this was coming.

once again IANAL, YMMV, consult with an attourney before considering any action against this person. The court system goes to great lengths to protect the roof over someones head and appeals to evictions are a possibility.

Sometimes a word with her will work things out. You can mention to her you have chnaged your mind and just want your basement back and are asking her to move. An amiable deal is better than a confrontational settlement so I would try that first.

I’ll go with sailor on this one. There is no reason to be confrontational if up until now she has paid her rent on time and been a good tenant. I don’t agree that you need the services of an attorney yet either, unless you are in a lease agreement. Assuming that you have no written agreement, since you didn’t mention one, the norm in most states is 30 days notice. Depending on circumstances like how difficult it is to find similar rentals in your area, and how egregious her conduct has become, you might even consider offering her 60 or 90 days to vacate.

I like lawyers, really I do but often the best solution is to keep things low key, rather than jumping to the legal system.

Vindictive tenants can make the transition a nightmare. Instead of looking up an attorney, you might consider looking up the services of a property management company. Property management is very effective in a case such as yours, since you can then be a neighbor to your neighbor, rather than a landlord to your tenant. It takes a lot of pressure off to be able to pick up the phone and call the management company with a problem.

Renters have a lot of rights, even in non-lease situations. I had a domestic battery situation, and the police made him vacate HIS OWN HOME for three days while I found a new place to live, got my affairs in order, etc.

… I think you should be able to find some material on landlord/tenant rights and responsibilities through your state’s Attorney General’s Office. Here in Massachusetts, we can access this online, and information is provided about terminating a tenancy.

I would imagine most other states are also putting their publications up on the web. If your state has not yet done so, certainly a phone call or two will do the trick.

Good luck - Nolo press, law books for the do it yourselfer…

Do you have a certificate of occupancy for the unit?