It’s about time! Options for Removing an Adult Child From the Family Home


What happens when adult children still living at home refuse to leave? As the boomer generation ages and look to downsize, this is a question that more and more parents might have to consider.  While it may sound unlikely, this scenario has the potential to cause some headaches for parents in the years ahead.  According to the 2011 census, there were 1,826,000 adults aged 20-29 still living in the family home in Canada.  If reason does not prevail, there are a few legal options available for parents should they find themselves in a position where they need to evict their ‘tenant’.

Before deciding on the appropriate legal avenue for removing the child from the home, an assessment of the living arrangement needs to take place.  If the child had his or her own private living space, as well as kitchen and bathroom facilities, for instance, living in a basement apartment, then Ontario’s Residential Tenancy Act (the “Act”) could apply.   The Act could also apply if the child was paying any rent or providing any services in exchange for occupying the rental space.  If the child is deemed to be a “tenant” under the Act, then removal options include the potential for eviction if the payment of rent is in default.  However, the tenant can void the eviction notice if they make up the arrears, or appeal to the Landlord and Tenant Board, which would cause a lengthy delay.   The tenant could also be evicted on the grounds that the property has been sold and the purchaser requires the property for their personal use.  This step does require the parents to find the purchaser and complete the purchase process before the child is required to move out.  This step may appear practical for those wishing to downsize, but selling the home could be made more difficult if the child does not cooperate when the home is being shown.

If the child does not have their own private living space and has been sharing the kitchen and bathrooms with the rest of the family, then the avenues available under the Act will not apply.  If that is the case, then the parents may want to consider issuing a demand letter, or even pursuing charges of trespass. In a demand letter, parents can set out their intent to sell the premises and provide the child with an reasonable notice period in which to relocate, for instance, within 60 days.  In the event that the child still refuses to leave the premises, the parents can inform the child that they are no longer welcome at the property, and should they refuse to leave, charges for the offence of trespass could be pursued.

Hopefully parents looking to sell their family home will not have to resort to legal solutions to convince their adult children that the time has come for them to move out.  If all else fails, then parents should consult one of the residential real estate lawyers at Kelly Santini LLP for an assessment of the landlord/tenant relationship and the best and most reasonable legal options for their specific situation.

[[{“fid”:”118″,”view_mode”:”default”,”fields”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Kate Craner, Kelly Santini LLP”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”Kate Craner, Kelly Santini LLP”},”type”:”media”,”field_deltas”:{“2”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:”Kate Craner, Kelly Santini LLP”,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:”Kate Craner, Kelly Santini LLP”}},”attributes”:{“alt”:”Kate Craner, Kelly Santini LLP”,”title”:”Kate Craner, Kelly Santini LLP”,”height”:”792″,”width”:”1188″,”style”:”width: 150px; height: 100px;”,”class”:”media-element file-default”,”data-delta”:”2″}}]]
Frank Falsetto Kate Craner (articling student)