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  1. #1

    Default How to Kick Out an Alcoholic Housemate

    I have a fairly large house in unincorporated Los Angeles (California) County with four housemates. (Got to pay the mortgage!) We are all adults from 40 to 60. The longest tenancy is 17 years; the shortest, four years. The person who has been here 17 years, who I'll call Jane, is almost like family because of her lengthy tenancy, but in no other ways. We have a written month-to-month agreement. Jane had been the perfect tenant, but in the last several years has developed a drinking problem. And it has gotten worse. Twice she has left pots on the stove that could have burned the house down if someone else hadn't noticed them. Three times she hasn't made it to the bathroom before her bowels moved. Mess in the hallway. Mess in the toilet. She has bumped into things and broken them. Recently, she was apparently falling in the bathroom, so she grabbed onto a towel rack, pulling it off the wall. I explicitly spoke to her about her drinking in a long conversation maybe six months ago. She acknowledged it and said she would get help. I have brought it up twice in shorter conversations since then. She got behind in her rent maybe two years ago. But because of her long tenancy, I have worked with her. About six months ago, she agreed to make two rent payments each month to catch up -- and she has been doing that. But just yesterday, so drunk she could barely stand up, she told me she is on "sick leave" and they (her employer) are "doing funny things with my money" and she couldn't pay the payment due this week. I think this means she's finally been fired -- something that may have happened as long as a month ago based on how often I've seen her in the house. She is currently two months and a fraction past due. Jane has a sister who lives locally, but she has her own rather serious psycho-social issues.

    Because she lives in my house and has been here so long I have given her more rope than I normally would. But a friend who is a therapist says that I need to bite the bullet and kick her out. He says (1) I am being co-dependent and that's not in her best interest, and (2) I have a responsibility to my other housemates to remove a "hazardous situation." If that's true, especially the second, can I just give her a 3-day notice and call it a day? Or have I messed things up by allowing her to be late for so long? I'm inclined to give her a 30- or 60-day notice even if it isn't required. Whichever notice I give, should I specify the reasons for terminating her tenancy, or just end it period because it's month-to-month. Will there be any issues surrounding kicking out an alcoholic? Have they become a "protected class"? Do I need to document her behavior in any way to cover my butt?

    Is there a whole other way to handle this -- perhaps not even involving the cold-hearted eviction process -- that I haven't thought of? For instance, can I just call Alcoholics Anonymous and have them take her away? Okay, I KNOW I can't do that. But what I mean is: is there some thinking-outside-the-box strategy that I haven't thought of?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: How to Kick Out an Alcoholic Housemate

    You have two options...

    1. Provide her with the notice to terminate her tenancy at will (this would need to be a 60 day notice since she has resided there longer than 1 year on this type of agreement). This notice does not need to provide a reason for terminating this type of tenancy.

    2. Begin the process of eviction for failure to pay rent. If you choose this method, the attached publication also provides education on the process of doing this.

    Forget contacting Alcoholic Anonymous; they are not a "pick up" group for substance abusers. Does this woman have family willing to take her in or has she burned her bridges with them too?


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