Can a family member have squatter’s rights?

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Can a family member have squatter’s rights?

Does my father living in my home have squatter’s rights? We have allowed my father to live with us for 9 years but now plan to move into another home where we will not have a bedroom to accomodate him. What are our rights and his rights if he decides to refuses to leave, so we can sell our home?

Asked on June 14, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is no such thing as squatter's rights in the U.S. (some European nations have them): someone who does not own or is not lawfully renting a home (or is not married to the owner) has no right to reside there. If you father refuses to leave, you can have him evicted (technically, since he is a guest if he's not paying rent and not under a lease, once you revoke permission for him to stay there, he becomes a trespasser and the police *should* remove him--but they often refuse to do so in the case of long-term guests and family members, preferring that a court make a determination). You should do this in advance of the sale--the eviction process can take months if the other side seeks post-judgment relief and/or appeals, or facing some hardship that may cause the courts to give him additional time. If you are contemplating moving now, you should first speak with your father and see if he'll leave voluntarily; if not, speak with a lawyer about taking legal action now.


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