Can I be forced to vacate a house without a 30 day evacuation notice?

My aunt and my father were recently in court over who would take possession of my grandmother’s house after she passed away. My aunt won but my dad was living there. Now he is claiming that he must vacate the house within a few days, or else be taken to jail. Under state law, mustn’t he be provided with at least a 30-60 day evacuation notice before having to leave? Or does this situation not apply, since it was a battle over my grandmother’s Will and not as simple as landlord and tenant law?

Asked on August 20, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Typically in such a situation, your father will be viewed as either a tenant (there need not be a formal lease agreement) or at least a licensee (that is a long term occupant of the premises). In either event, under the law he must be provided a 30 day notice (in some states 60 days) notice. To try and evict him without proper notice can open up the legal owner (his sister) to civil penalties. If he does not leave by the date specified in the notice, then she will have to file an eviction lawsuit, known as an "unlawful detainer", with the court.

The above is the general rule. However, absent being able to review the specific documents of the case, this may or may not hold true. 

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