The short answer is…it depends on a number of factors. Answering the question Can Sober Livings Kick You Out can be complex that has both moral and legal things to think about. First, let’s discuss the legality of the answer.
Can A Sober Living Legally Kick You Out?
To be able to answer this question, a detailed look at the contract created by the landlord/owner, and signed by the tenant/licensee would be in order. Ultimately, it will be these documents that will provide guidance on how a landlord/owner can proceed and what legal grounds a tenant/licensee has for staying or going. Legally speaking, and the results may vary by state, in California, a sober living resident is classified as one of two types: a tenant or a licensee. A sober living tenant is legally a tenant of the house and would need to abide by the tenant laws of California. This would require all residents to be treated as any other resident in a living facility. In California, the residential laws are heavily in favor of tenants. Thus, being evicted from a house would require an eviction notice and a specific amount of time to allow the resident to leave. According to the California courts, a landlord may be able to evict a tenant if the tenant:
- Fails to pay the rent on time;
- Breaks the lease or rental agreement and will not fix the problem (like keeping your cat when pets are not allowed);
- Damages the property bringing down the value (commits “waste”);
- Becomes a serious nuisance by disturbing other tenants and neighbors even after being asked to stop; or
- Uses the property to do something illegal.
In most cities, the landlord can also evict the tenant:
- If the tenant stays after the lease is up, or
- If the landlord cancels the rental agreement by giving proper notice.
So, if any of these requirements are met, a landlord/sober living owner can choose to evict a tenant.
If a resident is seen as a licensee, then the rules are a bit different. This type of resident is seen as a customer and the services can be terminated with a less formal method, i.e. formal eviction notice, length of time, etc. However, the process will ultimately be the same regarding eviction. This begs the question, how long does it take to evict someone from sober living?
How Long Does it Take to Evict Someone from Sober Living?
Again, this varies by state, however, in California, an eviction can be between 10 and 75 days. It also depends on many factors including the location of your property, which type of notice was served to the tenant, the court’s workload, and circumstances surrounding the eviction situation. Again, if you are a landlord/owner who is looking to remove a tenant/licensee, or you are a tenant/licensee who is getting evicted, the residential contract should have all the legal steps required should an eviction need to proceed. Both parties should take these documents to a professional who understands the rules and rights of both the landlord and the tenant.
Should I Leave My Sober Living? The Moral Argument
Having addressed the legal aspects of eviction from a sober living home, let’s take a look at the question of should I leave my sober living? This question is primarily addressed to the tenant/licensee as we can assume that they would be the ones who are willing to stay in a contentious place for the necessary time to see out an eviction process. This is where the difference between a sober living home and a regular tenant situation is vital. For those on the journey of recovery, doing the ‘next right thing’ is a key component. In fact, most 12-step programs tout this tenant for living. It requires that one do the next right step in their recovery, regardless of if it is in their best interest or not.
Now, morally speaking, both the sober living owner and the tenant/licensee has a moral duty to do right by the other as they both, presumably, should have the best interest of the other in mind when navigating these situations. If you, as a tenant, have broken one of the clearly defined rules in the signed contract, then the next right thing to do would be to adhere to that contract, regardless of how painful it might be. For those in recovery, who have often lived an immoral, selfish life, living unselfishly is the key to permanent sobriety. We no longer want to think of ourselves first. So, if you have broken a rule, you should be willing to own up to that behavior and leave. Obviously, if there was no infraction on your part, and you feel that you have been unduly targeted by the sober living owner or manager, then you have a right to pursue justice. However, if you know that you have broken a rule, then it should be your moral obligation to move out, although you legally may have longer to stay. Additionally, do you think it would be good for your peace of mind/sobriety to stay in a place where you know you are in the wrong? This may bring on a similar level of guilt and shame that those in recovery are so desperately seeking to leave behind.
The Last Straw
So we see that there are two components to a resident potentially getting kicked out of sober living. The legal aspect is certainly something that can be pursued by both parties should one or the other feel they have been unfairly treated. We certainly want to seek justice, if not for yourself, for those who may come after you. And part of recovery is also learning to stand up for yourself. However, if you, as the resident/tenant know that you broke one of the rules on the document you signed upon entering the sober living, then morally, for your own sobriety (it always seems to come back to selfishness) should be willing to do the next right thing.
San Diego Sober Living has been servicing the San Diego sober living community for over a decade. We specialize in sober living homes for women. If you, or a loved one, is in search of a reputable, safe, and structured sober living environment, please give us a call today!