Some time ago, my brother moved into my grandmotherâs home with her. He has hardly held a job over the last decade and is approaching 40. He has a long history of drug and alcohol abuse, but over the last few years we have begun to believe he also suffers from mental illness. Over time, my brother living in my grandmotherâs home caused her so much stress that she began having panic attacks.
In a fit of rage, my brother assaulted my mother and is now in jail awaiting trial. Since my brother refused to allow us to enter my grandmotherâs home for years, our family took this opportunity to clean out her home.
We moved her out of her lifelong home and in with her daughter, my mother. My brother remained there for several years. As with all who seem to write you, grandma was financially fortunate enough to keep supporting my brother after she moved out. She continued to pay for the utilities, upkeep, taxes, etc. Other than contributing with the lawn intermittently, he has done nothing to contribute to the household.
In a fit of rage, my brother assaulted my mother and is now in jail awaiting trial. Since my brother refused to allow us to enter the home for years, our family took this opportunity to clean out grandmaâs home (my brother had been demolishing it-literally tearing down walls, ripping out carpet). We moved her belongings to my motherâs home and put what we deemed salvageable in storage for him.
Donât miss: My mother-in-law is being bled dry by her incarcerated brother
From jail, he calls each of us, demanding things he needs (pay my credit card bill, cancel my car insurance, fix my broken car, etc.). He blathers on about how he did not assault my mother. He dismisses the fact that he broke down the locked door to my motherâs house, chased her into the street, and was happened upon by city police (thank the good Lord above for that lucky intervention). He tells us repeatedly that he did not touch my mother. He has no answer for the pictures that now exist showing my motherâs bruised face.
Heâs calling us now to say that we cannot kick him out of grandmaâs house. Iâm sure there are all kinds of laws in Missouri that protect him, but we wonder what steps we can now take to ensure he has no rights when and if he gets out of jail.
This is still your grandmotherâs home, but you are right to tread carefully.
Tenant law varies from state to state, but your grandmother may terminate a month-to-month tenancy (even if this was an oral arrangement rather than a written one) by a written notice âstating that the tenancy shall terminate upon a periodic rent-paying date not less than one month after the receipt of the notice,â under Missouri state law.
However, the court can order the immediate removal of any person who engages in drug-related criminal activity in the immediate vicinity of the leased property. âPersons removed from the leased premises pursuant to this section shall be immediately barred from entering onto or remaining on any portion of the leased property.â
Also see: I bought my 50-year-old son a trailerâbut his girlfriend moved her family in
The question of when a guest becomes a tenant is not straightforward. In one 2008 Connecticut case, for instance, a person who lived in his fiancÃ©eâs home for several years and even contributed to household expenses âwas held not to be a tenant because he paid no fixed amount as rent, had no fixed period of occupancy, and was in a romantic relationship with the homeowner which she could have terminated at any time.â And another case found that a son (who did not have a formal rental agreement) could be prevented from entering his motherâs home after he returned from prison.
Under Missouri law, an oral agreement only obligates the landlord (your grandmother) and her tenant (if your brother does indeed qualify as a tenant) for one month. âA landlord can evict the tenant or raise rent with only one monthâs notice,â according to the office of the Missouri Attorney General. âLikewise, the tenant can give notice to vacate on one monthâs notice.â Give your brother written notice, consult your motherâs attorney and, obviously, donât pay any of his bills while he is awaiting trial.
And, while it might seem harsh, you know that you donât have to answer your phone when he calls.
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