If my father-in-law has had someone living with him rent free for a year but now wants them to get out of his house, do they have any legal rights?

They are claiming that they have squatter rights and he cannot make them move out.

Asked on November 25, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If this person has paid rent or any form of it (i.e. the electric or grocery bill, etc.), then after a year they will be considered to be a tenant. If they have not paid any rent, then they will probably be determined to be a "licensee"; this is someone who was invited to stay on the premises. In either event, in order to now get this person out, your father will have to file for a formal eviction (i.e. "unlawful detainer action").
Once this individual has been properly served a notice to quit (i.e. vacate), if they continue to remain on the premises after the time specified in the notice to move, then a court hearing will take place and a judge will in all liklihood issue your father a writ of possession. With this document he can have his lodger evicted, and by the sheriff if necessary. However, until that time, your father should make no attempts at changing the locks or removing this persons belongings. If he does, then he can find himself being sued for wrongful eviction.
At this point, he should consult directly with an attorney who handles landlord-tenant cases; they can best advise him further.

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