How to Evict a Family Member in Connecticut
CT Eviction Laws for Family Members with Idoni Management

If you’re wondering how to evict a family member in Connecticut and maybe feeling a bit guilty over the prospect, don’t be so hard on yourself.

You have plenty of company on this one. Lots of homeowners eventually wind up with relatives who have worn out their welcome and refuse to move out.

They promised they wouldn’t be a burden (and most guests aren’t), but if you’ve asked them to leave and they won’t budge, an eviction—taking legal action to remove a tenant—is your final option.

But does the process get more complicated if you’re trying to evict someone you’re actually related to?

Is the relative a tenant, licensee, or neither?

States have different laws on exactly how to classify someone who stays in your home. In the eyes of the law they can be classified as a tenant or licensee. In some areas, they are considered a tenant when they pay rent, but in other areas a tenant is simply someone who occupies your space (with no exchange of money). A person who stays in your home for an extended period of time can also be a licensee, depending on state law. Some states even say it’s acceptable to ask the person to leave and remove his belongings, no legal action necessary, as long as they did not pay rent.

If you’re trying to kick a guest out of your house, the first thing you need to do is know how Connecticut classifies these (now) unwelcome visitors. If they’re considered a tenant or licensee, you will need to go through the process of eviction.

How to evict a family member in Connecticut.

No one eviction fits all; different situations have different potential outcomes and strategies. But other than the potential emotional burden, the process of evicting a relative is no different from evicting any other tenant.

The truth is, the state of Connecticut doesn’t allow homeowners or investors to instantly evict a boarder, regardless of who they are or what they’ve done to deserve the boot, says Edward M. Schenkel, a Connecticut real estate attorney.

If they are a tenant or licensee under the law, Schenkel says, you can’t just throw them out and you can’t just change the locks. “That’s universal. You have to go through the Connecticut court system.”

Generally, this is what you’ll need to do to evict someone:

  1. Serve your tenant with a CT notice to quit that states when and why he must vacate; Connecticut requires a minimum of three days. Be specific, and state what he must do to stay, and by what deadline. The notice must be written carefully, and the help of an attorney or eviction service could speed up the process.
  2. If your tenant doesn’t leave by the deadline, you must file an eviction summons and complaint with the courts—most Connecticut towns have housing courts, and some hear eviction cases in county courts— and if the tenant does not file an appearance, a hearing date will be scheduled, where a judge listens to your reasons for eviction and checks your notice to vacate. If the judge rules for you, he will issue an order of eviction and a writ of possession, which gives your property back to you.
  3. If your tenant still refuses to leave, now in violation of a court order, you can file for an execution order and have law enforcement remove him. (Note: This will make future family get-togethers rather awkward.)

Since we involve personal feelings, the ordeal can be messy. Here’s how to evict a family member and make it less excruciating.

Take the next steps

1. Consult a lawyer: The first thing you should do is consult a local attorney or Connecticut eviction service specializing in landlord or tenant law. State and local laws regulate evictions, and a professional will know what type of notification you must give, documents you must file, and checks you shouldn’t cash.

2. Don’t take rent: If you’re trying to evict someone, don’t accept rent because it will give your unwanted tenant more rights, says Schenkel.

“In Connecticut, for example, if they’re paying rent and you want them out, they need to receive 30 days’ notice. If they’re there for more than one year it’s 60 days’ notice. And every time you accept rent, the clock starts again,” he says.

3. Write it down: When you let anyone live in your house longer than a Christmas vacation, it’s a good idea to send them an e-mail outlining your expectations. If you expect your recent college grad who’s crashing with you to look for work and take out the trash, write it down. If you have rules about your guest using recreational substances, spell them out. And if your tenant breaks those rules, give him reasonable time to find a new place. Most jurisdictions don’t like to make people homeless “at the snap of a finger,” Schenkel says.

4. Try to work it out: In the end, even paying someone to go away might be faster and cheaper than trying to evict him. Evictions can cost $1,000 to $10,000 in legal + turnover fees, and sometimes more if the case goes before a jury.

“I’ve had one eviction going on for a year and a half. We’ve been fighting like crazy,” Schenkel says. Paying for a session or 10 of family counseling will likely cost less money than an eviction. Plus, it may foster a closer relationship between you and your relative once he’s living happily somewhere else.


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