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Old 01-01-2013, 12:43 PM
 
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I have a question about eviction rights. My sister has been living with another sister in a family home. This home does not belong to either of them, but has been in limbo (long story) for many years. Sister B has lived there for decades, paying the taxes on the house. Sister A moved in about two years ago when she got a nasty divorce and lost her job. Sister A has been paying $300 a month to her sister to help with bills and taxes.
Sister A has bipolar disorder and can be difficult to deal with. She ended up in the hospital last week. In the interim, Sister B has decided that she wants Sister A out fo the house. She has reportedly put all her clothing in her car and is letting her grandson move into Sister A's bedroom.
Sister A does not know anything about this. She will be getting out of the hospital in a few days and will be homeless. Does she have any legal rights? Can Sister B evict her this way? There is no lease or similar agreement.
Any advice is appreciated. The Sisters both live north of here but Sister A was brought to the hospital in Pittsburgh which is how this has ended up in my hands. Sister B has a job in her hometwon but will not have anywhere to live and does not have funds to secure something else right away, although she can move if she has some notice.
Thank you.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:06 PM
 
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I know neither of them own the house, but who does own it? It sounds like a family owned property. Regardless, people without leases still have legal rights. Your sister has a right to notice. That notice should come from the owner, not a roommate she allowed to move in with her. The only way that Sister A can get Sister B out of the house on her own is via going to court for a protection from abuse order that stipulates Sister B much leave the property. When your sister gets out of the hospital, it sounds like this will become a domestic situation with the police being called. If the police become involved, it could go either way because the police sometimes make decisions based on their opinions instead of law. Sister B's behavior when the police arrive will also influence their decision. If she's acting crazy, they won't have sympathy for her. Regardless of what happens, she can go to the magistrate afterwards, assuming she doesn't do anything violent or threaten to do anything violent.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
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You have a question here which is best referred to legal counsel for sure.

Even if we knew all the facts here, that doesn't mean that the sisters are going to even agree with what the facts are- and the facts determine what the appropriate law for this case is.


Sister B intends to to keep Sister A out. The only real solution for Sister A is the court system, and that is going to require a lawyer.

If she really wants to stay, she should get a lawyer involved ASAP so the facts can be spun to her benefit.
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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I agree with Hopes - if B won't let A back into the house after some more intra-family negotiations, and if A really will be homeless, then the police may need to be involved. Best option then for A will be to calmly call 911 and report that she is being locked out of her residence without notice on a cold winter day and request police assistance.

When the police arrive, A needs to behave as rationally and calmly as she can to explain the situation otherwise the police may just be like, "you're a crazy **** without a lease - go to the nearest homeless shelter, live in your car, or find somewhere else to go or we'll arrest you for trespassing and harassment". Of course that isn't very nice or maybe even legal, but it will be expedient and the easiest way for them to deescalate a situation between two adults when one is raving and acting erratically. Especially if there is question about displacement or safety of the grandson, who I'm assuming is a minor. I'm not really that familiar with law enforcement, so maybe I'm misjudging how they would act, but that's my best advice.

The preceding assumes that B will allow A back in after some negotiations with police (who are, if A is able to present herself well, actively advocating for her at this point). If B is adamant, about keeping A on the other side of the door, then I'm not sure the police can really do much. Maybe issue a citation for something, but unless B herself flips out and needs to be taken away, then I don't see how there can be any force used to ensure A can stay.

If A goes to the magistrate and wins some recognition of right to continue living there, if only for a pre-determined length of time, then the police would support the court order, but I'm sure the courts and police hate those kinds of messy domestic cases that are so hard to prove who is telling the truth.

Also, it sounds like problems have been festering for a while, and if B has lived there peaceably for decades taking care of the place and A has been there for only 2 years and it has come to this she really needs to put some effort into finding a new place to live because this is probably not a sustainable long-term arrangement.

Last edited by Clint.; 01-01-2013 at 02:01 PM..
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
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If Sister B remains determined, it may be a good idea to contact a social worker or whoever at the hospital where Sister A is staying. The last time I dealt with this was decades ago and in a different state, but there were laws against releasing somebody from the mental hospital (which was in that case a state facility) into a state of homelessness. Obviously, such laws were skirted very often, but it was hard to evade when a family member was on the phone before discharge.

If that kind of a law applies here (and I can't say about that), the hospital will likely be very motivated to try to find a way to reassure Sister B (for example, taking more concern to get Sister A into some outpatient treatment) or to find alternative housing.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moby Hick View Post
If Sister B remains determined, it may be a good idea to contact a social worker or whoever at the hospital where Sister A is staying. The last time I dealt with this was decades ago and in a different state, but there were laws against releasing somebody from the mental hospital (which was in that case a state facility) into a state of homelessness. Obviously, such laws were skirted very often, but it was hard to evade when a family member was on the phone before discharge.

If that kind of a law applies here (and I can't say about that), the hospital will likely be very motivated to try to find a way to reassure Sister B (for example, taking more concern to get Sister A into some outpatient treatment) or to find alternative housing.
Yeah, good point. She'd be sent to a MH respite for up to 30 days (assuming this hospitalization is pertaining to her bipolar disorder). If it's a medical hospitalization, I don't know what the process is or where she would go, but in either case the hospital (or the insurance company) sure as heck isn't going to let her use the hospital as a hotel for very long if she is clinically ready for discharge. Maybe if she was really ill and chronically unable to care for herself she could be put on a long-term unit (depending on what hospital she's in, like tru or cru), but doesn't sound like she meets the criteria.

If B isn't going to budge contact the hospital to explain the situation and see if she can go to a respite. Won't be a permanent solution, because the respite will kick her out after 30 days - it's not a right to have a private residence in the U.S. and this is a way people become homeless - but will give some more time to work out other arrangements.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
6,065 posts, read 7,330,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clint. View Post
Yeah, good point. She'd be sent to a MH respite for up to 30 days (assuming this hospitalization is pertaining to her bipolar disorder).
I was indeed assuming that it was a hospitalization pertaining to bipolar disorder. Also, I wasn't aware respite still existed, but as I said my experience was in another state.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:45 PM
 
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There is a reason I know the sister has a right to notice. I was living at my father's house when he died. I wasn't a renter or anything. I had a right to notice from the estate. I also had a right to a certain amount of money to be released from the state before it was settled.

I also know that anyone who has no lease, which is in essence a month to month lease, has a right to notice. Nobody's stuff can be thrown to the curb without going to the magistrate. Even parents of children who turn 18 years old can't legally just toss them into the street without notice. Sure, it's not uncommon for parents to do it because most 18 year olds don't know their rights.

There isn't much else we need to know to advise. Unless she physically hurt someone or threatened to physically hurt someone, she has rights.

It sounds like the other sister, the one doing the evicting, has a few screws loose herself.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:57 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 94,396,709 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clint. View Post
Also, it sounds like problems have been festering for a while, and if B has lived there peaceably for decades taking care of the place and A has been there for only 2 years and it has come to this she really needs to put some effort into finding a new place to live because this is probably not a sustainable long-term arrangement.
The OP says it's a family home, and ownership has been in limbo for years. If this is an estate that hasn't been settled, I wouldn't walk away from it so easily. This is where we need more details. It's not uncommon for a family home to be equally owned by all surviving siblings. For many families, it works out well with various siblings moving in and out as needed. Some families aren't emotionally mature enough to have this type of situation. The other problem is that ownership shouldn't be in limbo for years. I wonder if the sisters even know how to settle an estate properly.
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:40 PM
 
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As a previous landlord, i will tell you that even though there is no lease, the tenant always has a right to notice. If the sister has been living there for a few years, she is a month to month tenant and needs 30 days notice.
You cannot just pack up someone things and throw them out or even store them without notice. The sister that is being evicted, has so many rights. Courts are very tenant friendly and especially someone is not mentally stable needs all the help they need.
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