Landlords and property managers frequently deal with the issue of unmarried co-tenants and roommates, sometimes on the lease and sometimes not on the lease.
When things do not work out with these tenants, a landlord may face what is known as an “atypical” eviction.
Landlords are now seeing more renters who are Millennials. The trend of unmarried tenants is reflected in Gallup data. This shows more Millennials are currently single/never married than was true for those in older generations. This means they may have roommates sharing expenses. Plus considerably more Millennials are in domestic partnerships. Specifically, more than half of all Millennials, 59%, have never married, and 9% are in domestic partnerships, according to Gallup.
This week attorney Clint S. Dunaway takes on this topic of atypical evictions.
Our law firm is frequently contacted by landlords and property managers in Arizona looking for help with an “atypical eviction.”
There are a few keys ingredients that make up an atypical eviction:
- The first ingredient in an atypical eviction is the actual person we are trying to evict. Often we are evicting an ex-girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, ex-friend, roommates, adult children, relatives, etc. For example, if a woman moves into her boyfriend’s house, they breakup, boyfriend asks her to leave, and she won’t leave–then we must move forward with a formal eviction to get her out of the house.
- The second ingredient that makes these situations unusual is that the person requesting the eviction is often living with the person they are seeking to evict. This must make for some really awkward conversation around the breakfast table.
- Tensions can become very high in a home where people are living side by side and one of them is trying to evict the other. In these atypical evictions it’s not uncommon for one of the residents to obtain a restraining order against the other person.
It is important to note that whether it is a “traditional” Arizona eviction or an atypical eviction as described above, we must always follow the same formal process.
There are no shortcuts!
So resist the temptation to just lock this person out of your house and throw their belongings into the street.
Trying to take any shortcuts with the eviction process can:
- Delay the eviction
- Cost you money
- Create more stress in your life.
Do it right the first time and you will be able to get this person out of your life.
How Long Will An Atypical Eviction Take?
The time it takes to evict someone from your house depends on a few important variables, and your state laws.
One of the most important variables is whether or not there was an agreement for this other person to pay rent. If there was an agreement for this person to pay rent and they were not paying rent then we can send them a typical 5-day notice for non-payment of rent.
The entire eviction process for non-payment of rent can take 3 to 4 weeks. So if you have any illusions about your ex-lover/ex-friend/roommate leaving in a day or two you need to re-adjust your thinking.
If there never was agreement for this person to pay rent. And there is not a written lease agreement in place, then you must send them a 30-day notice to vacate.
When and if they do not leave after the expiration of the 30 days then we can begin the eviction process thru the courts.
If you are outside Arizona, please check your specific state laws dealing with atypical evictions and seek legal advice on how to handle them.
Research your state and federal laws on Fair Housing discrimination issues around tenant couples who are unmarried. Be sure you as a landlord and property manager are complying with the law.
For instance, Oregon has enacted fair housing laws to protect marital status. One marital status is not more protected than another. In other words, individuals may not be treated differently, denied, or harassed in a housing setting or transaction based on whether or not the residents are married or not.
Photo copyright istock.com/Manuel-F-O
Clint represents landlords and property managers in landlord–tenant disputes in Arizona. He seeks to provide all of his tenants with useful practical advice, not just legal advice to his clients so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their companies. Errors in renting to the wrong people can be astronomically expensive. Clint holds degrees from the University of Dayton School of Law (J.D., 2010) and Brigham Young University (B.A., Political Science). Clint enjoys spending time outdoors and travelling with his family. He also enjoys cheering on the Arizona Cardinals football team. You can reach him at 480-344-4035 and through his website here.