Landlord Tenant rights

UPDATED: May 19, 2009

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Landlord Tenant rights

I have a roommate residing in my condo who has not paid rent for years. I have given him a written two week notice to vacate my premises, he is still there. Can I evict him myself by changing my locks so that he can’t gain access?

Asked on May 19, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

If your roommate ever did pay rent, you might have a problem here.  The facts of each case are different, the law on this subject is different from one state to the next, and I'm not an Illinois lawyer.  One place you can find an attorney to help you with this is our website,

When a person pays rent, with or without a written lease, that often creates a landlord-tenant relationship, which continues even after the written lease expires.  If the landlord stops collecting rent, that may not change the relationship.  Different rules sometimes apply to owner-occupied premises, or a boarding situation where the tenant does not have a complete dwelling unit (at a minimum, including a bathroom and kitchen facilities, usually) to himself.

Many states have special laws to protect tenants against wrongful removal, and making any removal at all without going to court wrongful for those purposes.  Mistakes of this sort can be very expensive, and seeing a lawyer first is usually the cheapest way through this.

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 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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