"Establishing residency" ?

The other day I heard that if you permit someone to stay in your home for a given period of time, six weeks I believe it was, that they have then established residency in your home and are entitled to certain legal protections. Primarily you have to go through a legal process to evict them if they will not leave when asked. Supposedly this is so even in the absence of a formal lease contract and even if the person pays no rent. Apparently you can lock the person out for cause, such as illegal activities, but you cannot put their things outside. Supposedly I violated the law when I evicted difficult child by packing her things and placing them in the garage, since it is not attached to the main residence and thus "outside". difficult child herself is not accusing or threatening action or anything, I just heard this from a third party familiar with the situation.

I assume that different jurisdictions will have different laws, but is anyone familiar with this kind of thing? We live outside of Chicago.
Ask Nomad about this. Not too long ago, she posted on the PE board about her daughter who had let a friend come stay at her place for a very short period of time, and then this "friend" (who turned out to be a friend and 2 kids and another person) refused to leave. When Nomad & her daughter went to the cops, they told her that the friends had "squatter's rights". I have never heard of anything like that before!

I believe the circumstances are different if you are kicking an adult child from the house, but I'm not completely sure.


We never got the details straight. We do suspect that the police were trying to avoid the issue. HOWEVER, I have heard repeatedly from others that if someone is in your home for an extended period of time (and this could include adult children) that 30 days notice and a court order is required. I also agree that each state probably has their own rulings on these things.

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
In our ongoing effort to get my mom into a facility, we've learned that here in CT, 36 days in the state qualifies as residency. We're meeting with a lawyer today to get more details as that seems a little lite to me. I am fairly certain that my mom will also need to have an 'established' place of residence, have her mail forwarded to that residence and open a bank account as well...but again, we're not completely sure.

I know that when I moved to AZ a million years ago, I was ticketed for having residency but an out of state license and that was after only about 35 days. The officer instructed me that by law after 30 days I was considered a resident and needed to get my license changed to an AZ license.

You're right, it varies by state and certainly by circumstance...obviously ours with my mom is not like yours with your daughter.

I wonder if you can't do a search on line to find out the particulars? Check the state government website - they may have more info.

Sara PA

New Member
I doubt very much that you will find many, if any, state laws covering what constitutes residence in a particular house and what steps must be taken to remove guest who have overstayed their welcome. What is true is that police can't go into a home and remove one or more of the occupants based simply on another's saying that the others don't really live there. What if the unwelcome guest called the police and said the home owner/leaseholder was the tresspasser? It's been tried. Police want and should have a legal opinion -- court order -- about who has the right to live in a residence before they step in and start physically removing people. They can't sort that out on the spot.

There are landlord-tenant laws in most, if not all, states. Giving notice, what to do with property left behind, and the eviction process are all covered in those laws. None that I ever saw spell out how, if any way, those laws apply to family members or guests.

The landlord tenant laws with which I am familiar say that property left behind when someone leaves or is evicted must be kept in a secure location -- not necessarily in the unit -- for a particular period of time. You can't just toss it out on the curb but it doesn't have to stay in the unit. Packing things up and putting them in a secure garage is not a violation of that law. Tenant's property can't be kept, destroyed or allowed to be stolen by landlords, at least for a specific period of time.

IIRC, being unable to lock a spouse out of a home in a separation/divorce situation is based on the fact that both spouse are usually owners the house or are on the lease, in the case of rental. You can't lock someone out of the house he owns.


New Member
Police cannot remove someone from their home without enforcing an eviction notice from the court, however it happened to me.I resided with my ex wife and son from Aug 30 2010-Jan 05 2011. In mid Dec my ex wife locked me out of the house and I called the police. The two officers arrived and explained to my ex wife that she can't just lock me out of the house whenever she wanted because I have established legal residence there. They explained to her that if she wanted me to leave then she would have to get an eviction notice. I was allowed back in the house. A month later on the evening of Jan 05 2011, I was locked out again. The police were called and two different officers arrived at the residence. I explained to the officers that I lived there and the month prior my ex wife was told by a different officer from the same department that she cant just lock me out whenever she wanted. I told the officer on the night of Jan 05 2011 that I lived there and sleep there every night, however, I had been out of town for 2 days when I arrived that evening. The officer interviewed my ex wife and then asked me again, "Do you sleep here every night"? I told him yes I do except for the past two nights because I was out of town. He responded, "How about telling me the truth now"? He told me that my ex wife said I stay there "occasionally". I told him that was not true and all of my belongings that I had with me were in the guest bedroom and bathroom....clothes, mail, books, bathroom supplies, etc. all of my regular household items were in storage because I planned on moving into an apartment later that month. He said he looked and there is no evidence of me staying in the room. My ex wife had removed all of my belonging while I was gone for two days and hid them in the garage of the residence so it would appear I was not living there. I told the officer that is what she did but he refused to listen to me or even look into it. The officer would not investigate my claim. When I asked him why he was beleiving her over me he responded, "I respond to all calls without bias". However, behind a closed door he told my ex that I was, "playing the system" of establishing my residence there and now won't leave when she wants me to leave. He advised her on what verbage to use in order for him to determine I did not live there when in fact he knew I did and the previous officer the month prior knew I did as well, (same department). I was told to leave the residence and to not return or I would be arrested for trespassing. No, I was not drunk or high nor did I commit any domestic violence. My 8 year old son didn't know where I was for the following days because my ex would not answer the phone when I called to talk to him. I was forced to live out of my car with $20 to my name until I could secure an apartment a week later. In conclusion, the officer said to me that he had determined I was an "unwanted guest" and not a resident. I lived there every day for the previous 4 months. I paid child support during that time. My name was on the mortgage as well. We all got along quite well except for ocassional moodiness from my ex which would sometimes result in her locking me out of the house. I was not an "unwanted guest" until my ex wife decided she was not happy with my 2 day trip and decided to stage the house to make it look like I didn't live there. I suspect she was told to do that by a police officer friend of hers prior to me arriving from my 2 day trip. I spoke with the officers supervisor and internal affairs and they both told me the officer did nothing wrong and that he made a judgement call based on the "facts" given to him in my ex wifes statement.They said they had no cause to overturn the officers decission to remove me from the house.They did however tell me that I should not have been removed because it was a civil matter to be handled in court with an eviction, however, it was not misconduct on part of the officer...just a "misunderstanding". So now police can violate someones rights and call it a "misunderstanding" and not be held accountable. Is it not misconduct for the officer to not even investigate my claims and then advise my ex wife on how to circumvent the law of established residency?

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I would imagine laws vary from state to state.

I also imagine enforcing such laws is going to vary from officer to officer as well and depend upon the circumstance.

Katie and M got mail established in my home to establish state residency for welfare. I made katie change that immediately. Tried to do so with M, but I still get mail for him. It gets tossed immediately into the trash. I don't even look at what it is. I figure if he wants his mail, he'll change his address with the post office.


Well-Known Member
We had tenants in a rental property we owned here in NJ- we later sold it, (kicking ourselves now), becase the tenents had to be removed by the sherrif's office. First they stopped paying rent, then we had to go to court to have them removed, then a notice from the sherrif was placed on the door, then on the date, 30 days from notice- the sherrif, husband, and a locksmith came together and kicked them out. It took a while, the entire time we had to make the mortgage payment, so move quick! by the way the people were living there with nothing, not even toilet paper!!!

In your case, just call the cops and lie. Tell cops they were there as your company for xxx (whatever the law in your state says is the maximum, then you make it LESS). Then they will have to go. Of course they will argue, but the cops won't know who to believe, so they will believe you.... becaue you will be calm and rational-where the "guests" wil be freaking out.


Well-Known Member
Every state is different.

I just went through this (and am continuing) with-a squatter in my cousin's apt in NYC. Their laws hoover.
Virginia is much better. The same laws that apply to an illegal squatter in NY apply to LEGAL tenants, who have not paid in a while, in VA.

You have to check out your own laws. Don't know how good you are at computer searches, but you can call the city on Tues.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
This is a very old thread. Since it sounds like you're in the middle of a nasty divorce situation, I'd advise you to get an attorney to advise you on this one.