When does a written notice to vacate need to be given?

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2011

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When does a written notice to vacate need to be given?

I left an abusive husband. I wasn’t allowed to work. When I left him we moved in with an aunt because we were evicted. Despite numerous attempts, I was unable to find a decent paying job. We’ve been staying with my aunt rent free for the last 9 months. Then 5 days ago she told me that I needed to be out by in less than 10 days. Although I never paid her regular rent, I have given her some money when I could and paid her groceries. Was she supposed to give me a written 30 day notice? What are my rights?

Asked on July 27, 2011 Illinois


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that you are more than just a guest. Since you paid some form of rent (occasional money and groceries), you will be considered to be a tenant. Accordingly you must be given proper notice to vacate. Under the circumstances you are a month-to-month tenant. Therefore a 30 day written notice is required (in IL a 10 day notice is only for non-payment of rent and you did not have an agreement that you would pay rent). If you do not leave by the date specified your aunt can the go to court and file an "unlawful detainer" action (i.e. eviction lawsuit). You can fight this by explaining to the judge that you did not receive proper notice. If you prevail she will have to re-serve you. Once she has done so and re-files with the court, a judge will then issue an order for you to vacate. If you fail to do so, your aunt can ask the sheriff to come and remove you, physically if necessary.

Note:  If in the meantime, she attempts any kind of "self help" eviction such as changing the locks or removing your belongings, you can file suit against the for wrongful eviction.

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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