Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Washington

I Washington state, what are my legal obligations/restrictions regarding forcing my ex-girlfriend to vacate my home. I have let her live with me for ~3 years and pays no rent or other bills except food. I exclusively own the home. For example, can I just move her stuff to storage and replace the locks?

Asked on 6/19/13, 10:55 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Amir John Showrai The Pacific Law Firm, PLLC

If you have not done this yet, first tell her it's over and that you want her to leave your home. Give her a reasonable period of time to depart and find a new place to live. Second, if she does not agree immediately to start looking for a place, then have her served with a letter indicating that she is an invitee and is no longer welcome. Have a third person, over the age of 18, who is not related to you serve this on her.

Third, if there are any threats made or any violence, you should seek a protection order or a restraining order, which will achieve her removal. However, (not that you are dishonest) but do not try to do this as a short cut to getting her out. It can seriously backfire on you, and besides, it's dishonest. I mention it because so many people see this as a short cut to getting someone kicked out of the home. It often can work, but when it doesn't, boy will you be sorry.

Fourth, if there is no violence, threat of violence, or harassment, and if she refuses to leave after you have given her notice, then you need to bring an action for "ejectment." This will be somewhat costly to have a lawyer do, but you will have no real other legal course of action available. Ejectment is where she is not a tenant, since you have no lease and she pays no rent, but rather, she is merely an invitee or guest onto your property to live who has now been asked to leave and refuses to leave. So you ask the court for an order to eject her from your property.

The danger I see in bringing legal action is that depending on her financial resources and what has gone on in your relationship, she could bring an action or counter-action for a "committed intimate relationship" meaning that since you and she lived in a marital-like relationship, she is entitled to certain things. I'm not necessarily saying that will happen here, but you need to be prepared for it. She has a relatively high burden of proof to meet before she could win such a case, but it could be expensive for you to defend.

Ultimately, if after you speak with her and tell her it's over and you would like her to leave, if she does not go, then I advise you to seek legal counsel before doing anything further, so that you are protected and don't accidentally overstep your legal authority.

Best of luck!

Read more
Answered on 6/19/13, 11:14 am

Related Questions & Answers

More Landlord & Tenants questions and answers in Washington