By Christopher A. Combs
September 13th, 2016
How to Evict a Live-in Girlfriend or Boyfriend
Question: My girlfriend and her son moved into my home in Gilbert three months ago. Almost from the beginning we had problems, and I think it is now best that she and her son move elsewhere. I will help her financially to find a new home. After I discussed this reasonable plan with her, she became very upset and said that she would not move out. What do I do now?
Answer: After your girlfriend and her son lived in your home for three months they became tenants under an implied month-to-month lease. In order to terminate this implied month-to-month lease, you need to give your girlfriend the 30-day termination notice required under Arizona law to terminate any residential month-to-month lease. If your girlfriend and her son do not move out after the 30-day termination notice, you will have to file eviction proceedings.
Note: For purposes of removing an occupant living in your owner-occupied home, there are two types of relevant occupant classifications: a tenant, or a guest (licensee). Determining the applicable classification depends on how long your girlfriend and son have lived in your home, and whether they have paid any rents. Recognize that paying the utilities or buying food for the home can also be considered rents.
Your girlfriend and son are considered tenants because it is highly likely that your girlfriend could show some consideration, however small, for rents paid over the three month period. Yet, let us say for example that absolutely no form of rents were ever paid by your girlfriend and it was within the first month of their stay. In this case, an Arizona court could classify your girlfriend and son as mere licensees in the home. This status as licensee would afford them less rights to remain in the home than a tenant with an implied month-to-month lease, where a 30-day termination notice is always required and formal eviction proceedings may need to be filed in Arizona.
Guests (licensees) can be excluded from your property like any other trespasser, e.g. the police can be called. Although not legally defined in Arizona, the general idea of a “guest” from standard contract language is someone who occupies a home for “less than two weeks during a six month period.” As such, if a couple wants a party to the relationship to remain as a guest in a home, they may want to consider the legal impact of what may seem like minor events: who pays for the groceries, or the amount of overnight stays in a home over an extended period. As time passes and as rents are paid, additional rights could be afforded to a girlfriend or boyfriend as a tenant on an implied month-to-month lease requiring notice and possibly formal eviction.