Tenant Question: "Room-Mate", no lease, now estate owned home

3 Replies

My friend's mother has just died and her boyfriend had been living in the house renting a room (for quite some time now). The house is now owned by the estate and my friend is wanting to list and sell the house come April 1, 2015 and wants the boyfriend (room-mate) out of the house by March 31, 2015. I am helping him draft a 20 day Notice to Terminate Tenancy (way earlier than 20 days); however, the question is should we put him on a short-term lease as well? He doesn't expect there to be any issues, but just in the case he hasn't moved out he doesn't want it to stall the listing, showing and sale of the house so he's just trying to protect himself in the meantime. Anyone have any suggestions on a good way to proceed? Home is located in Edmonds, WA (Snohomish County). Thank You,

If you are getting a lease in place, get a month-to-month lease in place first before trying to make him move. Then the lease terms will state how you go about making him move. 

Is the lease necessary or will notice to terminate suffice?

Zach, most likely the occupant has a life tenancy, that is a month to month without a written agreement, the tenancy rights run until terminated. Laws are specific as to notices, if a 20 day notice is required, it may well mean 20 days, not 60 days. Follow the required notices to the letter. Other issues, there can be tenancy relationships that can not be terminated by the estate during settlement, an attorney can advise you. An estate can sell property, with proper approval by an Administrator or Executor. may need court approval.

For title insurance purposes it is best to wait until the estate is settled and title is conveyed.

Another point, trying to sell with a tenant in a property can have other difficulties, if the tenant isn't happy to assist and move on from situations like this, it's probably best to list or begin sales activities after the property is vacated. It may show much better empty and without possible conflicts.

I understand having a friend, I understand being in a position of being a real estate "investor", but, I'd suggest you tell your friend that your expertise might be in buying or selling, but not in legal matters with estate settlements and that he needs to seek the advice of an attorney. That will be the best way to help your friend, really, and this could get sticky if the boyfriend feels he has rights to live there, he can make all kinds of claims, don't know if you have common law marriages there, but he could have other rights.

You need to have your friend get with an attorney. :)

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