How can a parent evict their own son?

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Latest post 02-10-2007 5:17 PM by melodyL. 16 replies.
  • 02-09-2007 10:06 AM

    • melodyL
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    How can a parent evict their own son?

    Okay, this is a tough one. The state is New Jersey. My friend and her husband live in their own home. It is not a multiple dwelling. They have a 29 year old son who is an alcoholic. He had a good job (he's been a drinker for 10 years with one dwi when he was 18). It got really bad, he went on disability from his job (it ends soon) but he doesn't come out of his room. He just sleeps, goes on computer and drinks. When he gets up and goes in his car, they went into his room and found all the beer cans. They have tried and tried to reach him to go into rehab. He will have none of it. He says "leave me alone". They have had people come into the house to speak to him. He does not get violent. He is just arrogant and says "I will do what I want to do" "Leave me alone". They have contacted family court and they were told it takes at least 6 months and there would be an investigation and as long as he has no criminal activity, he will not be evicted. They have called up rehab places and have been told "he must want to go". He does not. The mother cries all day and the father screams and even took the bedroom door off the hinges so they could get into his room, but he went out and bought a new door.
    They are getting different messages from different experts. No one seems to know how they can get him out so they can have some peace. They really don' want to kick him on the street (actually they have been told they can't do this, as this is his domicile and he has rights, so even if they changed the locks, he could press charges against them. He knows his rights. This is getting out of hand. He pays his bills, he has a bank account with plenty of money in it. He does not pay them rent.
    They just are tired of all the drinking and they want him to go back to work. He won't do anything.

    Do parents have any rights? They contacted the police and were told. "He has to have done a violent act and we can cart him off to jail but the judge will only hold him for 72 hours and he'll come straight back home because that's his residence" I even called a landlord/tenant lawyer on their behalf and the guy said "unless he signed a lease with them (which of course he will never do), then they can evct him because he drinks (they could put a clause in the lease saying "no drinking". So to put it bluntly, as she said to me on the phone yesterday. "We are screwed, we can't put him in rehab, he won't go, he won't go back to work, we don't know what to do.

    So if anybody out there has had similar problems with getting an adult son out of the house, can you please post and I'll relay the information to my friend. Thanks
  • 02-09-2007 11:31 AM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: How can a parent evict their own son?

    IMO, I'd quit listening to the knowledge spouted by "friends" (unless they have law degrees) .
    Is there any reason why they haven't gone to see an attorney to see about evicting him?
    Just because he doesn't have a lease and hes not paying does not mean he can't be evicted.
    Its time for that "TOUGH LOVE".
  • 02-09-2007 11:32 AM In reply to

    re: How can a parent evict their own son?

    I don't know who they were talking with at the "family court" (it isn't as though there are lawyers standing by manning the phones), or what "investigation" they are referring to. That seems irrelevant.

    I also don't know what this supposed landlord-tenant lawyer you've consulted is talking about. Given that this isn't a multiple dwelling with 3 or more units, I should think the parents are free to issue him written 30-day notice of termination of his tenancy, and if he doesn't leave, they can file unlawful detainer paperwork. How long it would take to get a court date depends on the local system and how far it's backed up.

    I'd have them consult with a different real estate attorney. And your friend and her husband should be looking into this, not you.

    http://www.lsnjlaw.org/english/placeilive/irentmyhome/index.cfm

    http://www.lsnjlaw.org/english/placeilive/irentmyhome/tenantsrights/chapternine/index.cfm
  • 02-09-2007 11:50 AM In reply to

    • melodyL
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    re: How can a parent evict their own son?

    First of all, please don't yell at me for trying to help her. She has been on the phone with me for the past few months, crying her eyes out over her son. He's adopted and he was just told two months ago. He's using that by throwing it in her face. And one of her friends is an attorney and SHE said, that legally, it's practically impossible to evict a son from his own evidence. Again, she was told the only way to do it is if he acts violently, then she can call the cops. He is not violent. He just stays in his room and drinks. He does not work, he rarely comes out of his room. He will eventually drink himself to death. Also, she has been to Alcohol Anon meetings but she is told that these meetings are for HER and that her son's drinking is HIS problem. She just wants him to go into re-hab.

    So it boils down to this. She has spoken to an attorney, she has spoken to the police, (I called the land/lord tenant guy just to see what he would say) and he said "if he signs a lease, then she could get him out because by drinking, he breaks the lease. But because he has no lease, he is not a tenant, he is a resident and he has more rights than she does.

    Do you get it now??? If this was only about tough love, (well, I did tough love with my son when he was 12, you get them to sign contracts and they have to obey rules). This guy is 29 and is not going to go along with the tough love thing. And she can't change the locks when he leaves the house because she was told that because this is his primary residence, that if he can't get back into his own house, he can call the police and they would have to make her let him in.
    So who is right and who is wrong. This isn't like the Leave it to Beaver days when a parent could just throw the son out for misbehving. This guy knows his rights. She just wants to get her son into re-hab. They have had interventionists coming into the house to speak to him, but no one gets through to him. I do not know why you got so mad at me that you could be so rude. My friend's blood pressure is all over the place. I lost my own son and friends help each other out. I never expected to be told what I have been told on this message board.
    Shame on you.

    And for anyone else, all I am asking is "is there anybody else out there who has successfully, and legally been able to get their alcoholic son into a rehab program?

    thank you.
  • 02-09-2007 12:14 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    re: How can a parent evict their own son?

    Comments from a PA LL:

    Well your friends need to take a look at the facts and use competent counsel. And spend a couple of hours reading the rules. Just in case son shows up with some bleeding heart legal aid lawyer who most certainly knows all the eviction rules--I strongly suggest parents use counsel familar with LL side of eviction matters inNJ to make sure parents get every T crossed and every I dotted.

    One can simply toss a guest without notice but not a tenant-problem is many states give guests near tenant status and I have NO clue where this stand in NJ--so unless they can find out lets not rely on "guest" status.


    Basically one cannot evict in NJ without cause! NJ is almost as bad as NY!

    But you are dead wrong as to him not signing an written lease--parents can impose an oral lease or a new written one. I suggest a new written one at least as to rent rate!

    There are multiple grounds to evict in NJ but all require careful attention the rules! Personally as a LL if I'm going for eviction I want to have several grounds running my way just in case tenant wins one or judge tosses one! Use MULTIPLE grounds!

    Examples to check in NJ. There may be more:

    1. LL can impose a new rent rate ,requires notice to quit under old one and notice of new one. New one needs to be reasonable not punative. So you impose a new reasonable rent and begin eviction as soon as its "late." If $600/m is reasonable inthe area so use $600, if its $1200 in that area use 1200 but keep it on safe side of "reasonable" --predictably he wont pay and that what you want--not some rent which is tossed as "unreasonable."

    2.LL can recover unit for his personal use , no other cause required, 2 mos notice.

    3. If tenant caused disturbances to other occupants LL can seek eviction, after proper notice

    4. LL can impose written "rules" , then seek eviction if rule is violated, after proper notice.
    (I presume the rule must be "reasonable" but the law doesn't say just that. EG I may not be able to have a rule against drinking in ones room but I may be able to have a rule about no empty food containers left about premises (for health and safety of course) --and take a lot of pictures!)

    5. LL can evict if tenant is CONVICTED of assault upon LL.

    OTHER

    If son threatens or assualts parents the parents can seek and likely get a protection from abuse order, which if carefully drafted keeps him say 150' away at all time. That can effectively bar him from the premises and I've heard of it being used effectively--but it does NOT terminate his tenancy. But hey, if you have him for reasonable rent of say $600/mos in your neighborhood and he's out and he needs to spend more money elsewhere he quickly runs out of money ?



  • 02-09-2007 12:25 PM In reply to

    re: How can a parent evict their own son?

    "First of all, please don't yell at me for trying to help her."

    Er, no one yelled at you. :)

    "And one of her friends is an attorney and SHE said, that legally, it's practically impossible to evict a son from his own evidence."

    I think you meant to say "residence", but in any case this is not true.

    "She just wants him to go into re-hab."

    She can't force him to, and she needs to address her own mental health at this point.

    "Do you get it now???"

    No need to be snarky.

    "And she can't change the locks when he leaves the house because she was told that because this is his primary residence, that if he can't get back into his own house, he can call the police and they would have to make her let him in."

    We realize this.

    "I do not know why you got so mad at me that you could be so rude."

    Please copy-paste what you interpreted as "mad" or "rude". I'm curious.

    "And for anyone else, all I am asking is "is there anybody else out there who has successfully, and legally been able to get their alcoholic son into a rehab program?"

    Your friend needs to give up on this, at least for the time being. She cannot (cannot) force him into rehab.

  • 02-09-2007 12:31 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    re: How can a parent evict their own son?

    Look sometimes "free" advice is a bit on the short side. I'm sure nobody here tries to make folks feel bad--some of us have some useful life experience views to add--sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes we have clues as to what doesn't work or where to look. Sometimes folks never give us a balanced view of the issues. (One of my friends who has argued before the Supreme Court says the biggest liars are ones own clients-they never give us the full honest story !) Some posters are skilled lawyers who know some very targeted things --so of us are not--doesn't mean our aim is too far off.

    One friend is an outstanding tax lawyer but I would not rely upon him to evict tenants in NJ--I'd go to an attorney who does so on a successful basis!
    I'l bet your friends legal friend doesn't do eviction work!

    Mom is way off target to be investing time to get son into involuntary rehab if the concern is how to get him from making her life miserable for her and her husband at home. If my home is on fire I want to get my fire out--not figure out how to build better fire trucks or even how to prevent fires!



  • 02-09-2007 2:28 PM In reply to

    Disagree [)*(] re: Not subject to 'just cause' eviction...

    It appears that this situation would be an "owner occupied exemption" to the anti-eviction statutes here, since it's a SFH, and the owner occupies as well.
    In that case, the tenants' "lease" can be terminated with standard notice, 30 days.

    I strongly suspect that the attorney they spoke with regarding the ability to evict is not well-versed in LL/T law. They need one who specializes in the LL-side of the process, and succeeds.

    Your friends were on the 'wrong side' of the law when they removed the door, so they may not want to press that issue.


  • 02-09-2007 2:43 PM In reply to

    Ok [+0+] Dennis, I was hoping you'd see this to help settle. (end)

    .
  • 02-09-2007 2:45 PM In reply to

    More [=+=] By the way ...

    If I were the mother-father, I'd make sure to send the termination notice by certified mail, showing on the letter that a copy went via regular mail (and yet another via hand delivery). Pretty important to the process to make sure that they keep a copy for their records in case he alleges he never got the notice.
  • 02-09-2007 2:50 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    re: I agree---I missed the impact of owner occupied in NJ

    Exceptions to eviction for cause
    Almost all tenants are covered by the Anti-Eviction Act. However, the law does not apply to tenants residing in buildings or houses with three or fewer apartments where the owner lives in one of the apartments. This is known as the “owner-occupied” exception. Tenants subject to the owner-occupied exception may be evicted at the end of the lease term for any reason. If you are a month-to-month tenant living in a building with three or fewer apartments and your landlord lives in one of those apartments, the landlord needs only to give you a month’s notice to quit before taking you to court. Cite: N.J.S.A. 2A:18-53.

    But less some bleeding heart defend on grounds of no lease or unclear lease dates I 'd still engineer in multiple reasons to evict and serve notice as to a new rent etc and even seek awards for same etc.



  • 02-09-2007 3:05 PM In reply to

    • melodyL
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    Here's an update on the case!!

    Okay, she has been speaking to a counselo who told her and I quote "if you go to Al-anon, it's like waiting for your son to die, because Al-anon is all about YOU and they won't help the alcoholic".
    I told her "but you have no control over his drinking, you know this" She then told me "listen, he's my son, I want to be able to help myself deal with this and MAYBE then I'll be able to speak his language and get through to him" I had no idea what she meant until she explained further.

    She has been talking to some kind of counseling service who told her that she has to learn SOME KIND OF LANGUAGE to get through to her alcoholic son. Only when she learns this language, she might have a shot at reaching him. I told her "he's been up in his room for 5 months and drinking, what kind of language is this person talking about?" She said "Well, I have to go to a two hour session and then we can do sessions on the phone and she will guide me into dealing better with my son's drinking".

    I then replied to her (Maybe I was out of line but if this guy goes out and drives while intoxicated, he might kill somebody or if he smokes and drinks in his room he might burn down the house, right?"

    I told her "Listen, you have to find a way to remove him from your premises. I know you are afraid he might not speak to you again, you are afraid you might lose him as your son, but your husband has a bad heart and all this stress in your house in not good, you need to contact another landlord/tenant lawyer (she knows several), and go there and speak to them and find out your rights as a property owner. Your son is not behaving as he should be. He is not paying you any rent (he pays no rent), he sneaks down in the middle of the night and raids the refrigerator, or he goes out to eat and comes back). He is not violent but he has this swagger when he does come out of his room like he is saying "what can you do to me, you can't do anything". I told her "honestly, I don't understand how you can even speak to him the way he treats you and she just cries. She wants him out, she wants him to seek help. No one is helping her and honestly, the marrige is in trouble over this. The father is constantly screaming at the guy to get out of the room and go back to work.

    I think that the time will come when she will reach the end of her limit, when she has cried enough tears, or when the guy comes down and verbally abuses her, and he just calls the cops and says "my son is drunk and abusive, get him out". Maybe the judge will then put him in rehab.

    Honestly, if something doesn't happen soon, someone in that house is going to have a nervous breakdown, the only thing is I don't know who is going to have it first, the mother or the father. He's already had one heart attack and an aneurysm. He's 67, not well and they all walk around egg shells because they never told the young man he was adopted until a few months ago. Now he is throwing it in their faces.

    It must be very very hard to even imagine throwng your drunken son out on the street.

    I just thought some of you might have faced this and I just wanted to know how you handled the situation.

    mel
  • 02-09-2007 3:10 PM In reply to

    re: Here's an update on the case!!

    The alcoholism angle is beyond this board's scope. We're just here to shed light on the landlord-tenant issue, I'm afraid.

    "Maybe the judge will then put him in rehab."

    While a judge could order rehab part of, say, a probation deal or the like as it relates to a criminal act, verbally abusing someone is not such an act.
  • 02-09-2007 4:36 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    re: Here's an update on the case!!

    Look, so long as Mom continues to buy into one excuse after another about his drinking issues then nothing is going to get done in terms of his being a major risk to her and hubby's health under the same roof.

    We can suggest ways for Mom to address the problem of an unwelcome guest.

    But the longer Mom (and Dad) avoids the obvious the worse it will get. And to some extent the longer she puts up with it the more she is enableing his problems.

    Ultimately instead of destroying just one life he will be successful in destroying 3 lives.



  • 02-09-2007 4:44 PM In reply to

    • melodyL
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    re: Here's an update on the case!!

    You are absolutely right.

    She doesn't want to lose her son (I mean who on earth ever expects their son to wind up an alcoholic and never comes out of their room).

    I just wondered if any body on these boards ever faced such a situation. I guess none of you have.

    Oh well. She has to do what she'll do.

    I think this counseling thing that is goig to supposedly teach her a LANGUAGE to communicate with her son is going to bleed her dry.

    My goodness.

    Well, thank you anyway. Most interesting discussion.
    mel
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