How do I kick an overstayer out of my house?

Question Details: A friend was desperate for accommodation so I let him move into my house. We had no official or documented agreement, although I understood the friend would only be living with me in the short term. The friend has well outstayed his welcome. He won't leave, and I have asked him to leave a number of times. What can I do to kick him out of my house?

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Answers by Lawyers

Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

In making any decision, an important factor to consider is whether an ongoing relationship with this friend is important to you. While you have legal options available, it may be best to call a meeting and have a mutual friend mediate the situation for you, or to write a letter to your friend giving them very clear and formal notice and a date they need to move out by.

If the situation has gone beyond this, you have the ability to "trespass" your friend from the property. What this means is that you can formally ask them to leave, and if they do not, they will be committing a crime and may be arrested. You are able to trespass someone either if you own your house, or if you are a tenant.

The Police website provides an explanation of how to trespass someone at this link:

One thing to bear in mind is that the Police may not enforce a trespass notice if they see it as a minor dispute and not a crime. Because of this, you should ensure you keep a paper trail of the steps you have taken to remove your friend from the house (including the suggested letter and trespass notice). You should also register a copy of the trespass notice at the Police Station so they have a record of it.

Answered 30 Oct 2013. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.

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