This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

How Can I Evict a Family Member from a Sold Property in California?

Question from Jack, How Can I Evict a Family Member from a Sold Property in California?

Answer from AI:

When a family member refuses to leave a property after it has been sold, the situation can become legally complex and emotionally charged. In California, property and tenancy laws are quite specific, and navigating them requires a careful approach. Here’s a general overview of steps and considerations for dealing with this situation. Remember, this is not legal advice, and consulting with a legal professional is highly recommended for personalized guidance.

Understanding Your Legal Standing

First, it’s important to clarify your legal relationship to the property and the family member residing there. If the property has been sold, the new owner (whether that’s you or someone else) has rights under California law to possession of the property. Your sister’s refusal to leave can be addressed through legal means, but the specific approach may vary depending on the circumstances.

Steps to Take

  1. Communication: Begin by communicating with your sister, if possible. Explain the situation and the legal implications of her staying in the property. Sometimes, a resolution can be reached without resorting to legal action.
  2. Notice to Vacate: If your sister is considered a tenant (which can be the case even without a formal lease agreement, especially if she’s been living there for a while), you’ll need to provide a formal notice to vacate. In California, the length of this notice can vary depending on the duration of tenancy and the reasons for eviction. For more information on notice requirements, visit the California Courts website.
  3. Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit: If your sister refuses to leave after receiving proper notice, the next step is to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit. This is the legal process for evicting someone who unlawfully holds possession of property. It’s important to follow this process carefully, as improper eviction attempts can lead to legal complications.
  4. Legal Assistance: Given the potential for complexity, especially with family dynamics at play, consulting with an attorney experienced in real estate or tenant law in California is advisable. They can help navigate the legal process, ensure compliance with all relevant laws, and represent your interests in court if necessary.


  • Emotional Impact: Evicting a family member can strain relationships. Consider mediation or family counseling as a way to address underlying issues and potentially find a resolution outside of court.
  • Legal Complexity: California’s tenant protection laws, including recent changes, can affect the eviction process. Legal advice is crucial to avoid violating these laws.
  • Time and Cost: The eviction process can be time-consuming and costly. Be prepared for this reality and weigh it against potential alternatives.


Evicting a family member from a sold property in California involves a specific legal process, starting with proper notice and potentially leading to an unlawful detainer lawsuit. Due to the complexities of real estate and tenant law, as well as the potential for significant emotional and financial impact, seeking legal advice is strongly recommended. For more information on eviction processes and tenant rights in California, the California Courts’ self-help resources can be a valuable starting point.

Remember, every situation is unique, and this overview is not a substitute for professional legal advice. Consulting with a legal professional can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.

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