Q&A - How do I remove a relative who is refusing to leave my property?

Q. I have been allowing a relative to live in a property that I own.  There is no official tenancy agreement in place between us and they don’t pay me any rent. I now want the relative to move out of the property so that I can I sell it, but they have refused to leave. They have also failed to pay any of the bills for a considerable length of time and have caused damage to the property. I am very frustrated by the way my relative is behaving and I can’t even get estate agents into the property in order that it can be marketed for sale. Can I just change the locks and bag up their stuff?

A. Absolutely not – unless you want to be prosecuted for unlawfully evicting them. You will need to compel the relative to leave by threatening court proceedings for possession.

Firstly, you should send a letter to your relative, stating that you no longer consent to them living in the property. Indicate that their refusal to vacate voluntarily would make them a trespasser and that court proceedings will then be brought against them.

If they still refuse to vacate the property, a formal application to the County Court will be needed. At a court hearing, the court should then grant you an order for possession compelling them to leave the premises.

If they still do not leave following the order, the Court Bailiff can be called upon to evict them physically.

It would be highly advisable for you to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer who could assist you with completing the relevant letters and also deal with the court procedure if necessary.