Locally, we are seeing more and more residential property owners inviting people (whether related, a friend, or an acquaintance) to come live with them in their residence. This could be for what is intended as a couple of days, usually until the guest/invitee gets on his or her feet, or perhaps longer. Before doing this, the owner should understand that once this guest/invitee is in your home and you determine they have overstayed their welcome and it is time for them to leave, they may not leave voluntarily. If this happens, the owner may be required to initiate legal action to have them removed from the residence. No longer are the days that you can offer someone a roof over their head for a short period of time and feel confident they will leave when asked. We see more and more that these guest/invitees are staying and have no problem forcing the property owner go to court to get them removed from the property by the local Sheriff. Having to take this action presents a stressful situation when you are living in the same household as the guest/invitee you are trying to get removed. This can and commonly does result in the situation escalating to domestic violence, stalking or harassment situations. We commonly see the owner who is in this situation will either have to leave the residence until the situation is resolved or basically be a prisoner in his or her own home and stay confined to the bedroom. One way to avoid this is to have a written agreement but that means you still might have to file a legal action to get the guest/invitee removed if they do not voluntarily leave when the agreement says the tenancy is over. The best way to avoid this is just don’t do it. Resist the urge to put yourself in this position and save yourself from the frustration and stress. But, if you could not resist the urge to help your relative, friend or acquaintance and you find yourself in this predicament, seek out the assistance of a qualified attorney to represent your interests.

About the author: Lisa A. Troell is an attorney practicing in the areas of real estate including landlord/tenant and property management and is a shareholder with the law firm of Chesser & Barr, PA in Okaloosa County, FL.

This article is for general information only and is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice or solicitation of a prospective client. It should not be relied on for legal advice in any particular factual circumstance.