What legal rights do I have as an occupant of 5 years?

UPDATED: May 27, 2012

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What legal rights do I have as an occupant of 5 years?

My mother-in-law is tring to evict my husband and I along with our 3 kids. We don’t pay rent but we’ve lived here for 5 years. She told us to be out in 2 days.

Asked on May 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Although you don't pay rent, you still have legal rights. While not technically a tenant, you and your family (in most states) will be considered to be legal occupants of the premises or "licensees". And as such you need to be afforded much the same rights and protection as a tenant under similar circumstances. This means that you need need to be given proper notice to vacate; typically 30 days depending on your jurisdiction. If your mother-in-law attempts to force you out sooner, then she can be held liable for unlawful eviction. If she does gives notice and you do not vacate within the time specified, then she must file for an "unlawful detainer action" (i.e. an eviction) in court.

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