Were given a piece of family property 16yrs ago to live on rent free but now being served with notice to vacate for non-payment of rent, is that legal?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Were given a piece of family property 16yrs ago to live on rent free but now being served with notice to vacate for non-payment of rent, is that legal?

Have lived on property that was given
to us by my husbands mom and step-
dad and were never required to pay
rent. The mobile home we live in on the
property is owned by me and my
husband and everything we have on
the property belongs to me and him.
We’ve always been told that the entire
property will be ours when his parents
pass away but since his step-dad has
passed his Mom just keeps getting
crazy on us. She is trying to evict us
because we are moving our current
mobile home out and moving a new
one in and she says we had to have
permission from her first. And she now
says we haven’t been paying rent and
went to the Sherriff’s office and filed a
notice to vacate in 10 days for non
payment of rent but we’ve NEVER had
to pay it and never been asked to pay it
all these years. How is that even
possible and what can we do? Do we
have any rights? This is in Arkansas by
the way.

Asked on July 26, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Who owns the property right now? If it is titled in your and/or your husband's name, clearly you cannot be removed from it: it is yours.
But if it is titled to or belongs to your mother-in-law, she has the right to remove you: it is HER property in that case (regardless of how long she let you stay there or what might have been promised in the past) and no one has the right to live on another's property against her will. Even if you were allowed to live there before, she can change her mind and make you leave. If you have never paid rent, the process to remove you is different--there is one process to "evict" a tenant who is supposed to pay rent but did not, and another separate process to "eject" a guest (someone allowed to live there without paying rent)--but in either event, she can remove you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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