Legally how can we force this unconventional tenant to leave?
July 28, 2012 7:03 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend's relatives just moved out of a house in Illinois which belongs to his grandmother (who lives in a different state). She wants us to move in and take care of the house. There is someone living in the guest house who we want to leave.

Apparently without his grandmother's permission, his relatives invited someone to live in the guest house at some point. (I'm guessing he is a friend or acquaintance of theirs who had nowhere else to go.)
My boyfriend's relatives told him that they have been warning this guy for months that he is going to have to leave because they are leaving. We went over there yesterday and this guy is still there, though he has said that he only has one van-load left to move to a storage unit (he owns the van). My boyfriend told him to be sure to be out by Sunday, which he agreed to. But I am worried that he won't leave. He was hinting at wanting an extra day today, but my boyfriend held firm. It seems weird that he's still there after being told by the relatives to leave by such and such date multiple times. I'm worried that he isn't going to comply and is going to try to play on our sympathy. (We do kind of feel bad, the guy is probably close to being considered/is a senior citizen.)

On Sunday we are going to go over there and remind him that he promised to be out that day, offer to help him move his stuff out, and tell him not to worry about cleaning up any of the garbage (the place is pretty trashed). But what do we do if he throws out excuses and won't leave? Call the police? Will they do anything or just tell us to go talk to a lawyer?

Things that might be relevant legally:
- He has been there for quite a while (at least a year, maybe 2) and receives mail there, although he told us he has already filled out a mail forwarding form.
- I don't think he has been paying rent, but can't be positive he's never contributed anything. I know they didn't ever have a formal lease.
- His grandmother did not know about this guy living there, they didn't get her permission and she wants him to leave. She lives almost 1,000 miles away.
-We are in Illinois.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give. Let me know if there's anything important that needs clarifying.
posted by Eyelash to Law & Government (7 answers total)
I am not a lawyer. It is possible that, according to your local law, this guy has the same rights as a tenant even if the homeowner was not consenting to his presence. Or he could be considered a squatter. Here are some things you shouldn't do without speaking to a lawyer first:
A landlord cannot use the following procedures to force a tenant to leave (sometimescalled a constructive eviction) or to comply with the terms of a lease:
1) Locking the tenant out or changing the locks on the tenant's property.
2) Evicting the tenant, including removing the tenant's personal belongings, furniture, etc,without a court order;
3) Having the tenant's utilities (water, sewer, heat, electricity, phone) shut off ordisconnected;
posted by muddgirl at 7:14 PM on July 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am a lawyer but not an Illinois lawyer. He is a tenant and likely has the rights that a tenant has under Illinois law. Eviction proceedings may be necessary if he does not leave voluntarily.
posted by yclipse at 8:07 PM on July 28, 2012

Oh, forgot to mention. The police will not act against someone who was there with the permission of the person in possession of the premises.
posted by yclipse at 8:08 PM on July 28, 2012

What county in IL and if possible, what city (if that is not being too intrusive to ask)?
posted by lampshade at 11:24 PM on July 28, 2012

I'm a property manager and when I have people that won't leave but seem somewhat reasonable, I offer them a sum of money if they are out by a certain date. It's cheaper than eviction by far, and takes much less time. To get the money they need to sign off that they are giving up any tenancy in the place and returned all keys. This has worked quite a few times. It's a strategy I have read about in multiple books and websites about property management/landlord issues, so it works for other people as well.

You should consult a lawyer before doing this as I have no idea about the laws and customs of your area, and maybe it's not legal there.

If you do need to evict him, find a lawyer that specializes in evictions. They can be tricky and you want someone who goes through the process on a weekly basis, not a general lawyer who has to look up eviction laws.
posted by Melsky at 5:18 AM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Illinois Legal Aid Online has excellent resources for landlords and tenants. I'm both an attorney and a landlord, and I highly recommend starting there. Because the house is Grandmother's, she may even qualify for the assistance of their attorneys.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:05 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much for the help everyone! Fortunately he actually left today and even gave us his key. (We will still get the locks changed of course.)
posted by Eyelash at 7:13 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

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