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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 87075
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I live in a two-apartment house that is owned by the restaurant

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I live in a two-apartment house that is owned by the restaurant which shares the property. The restaurant is in turn owned jointly by my two daughters and the one son-in-law. After my husband died, three years ago, they invited me to come and live in the vacant apartment. I moved half-way across the country with everything I owned and moved in.
The married daughter and my son-in-law live in the upstairs apartment, I live in the downstairs one. Both apartments are autonomous. A front door gives access to both apartments, and I have a side door that leads directly from the street into my kitchen.
I have a land-line phone in my name and I pay all my utilities, which are also in my name. I don't pay rent and they don't, either. I have offered to pay rent, but they said no. I buy my own food.
My son-in-law is in a vindictive feud with another daughter, who lives in Kansas, and who has made numerous attempts to patch things up. My son-in-law won't allow her onto the property, saying the house is his and she would be trespassing. I may never force the issue, but I would like to know my legal rights as a tenant.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your family's situation.

You are what is known as a tenant at sufferance. A tenant at will is someone who has no right to occupy the premises, but is tolerated by the owner and may be terminated at the will of the owner.

A tenant at sufferance has few rights, but one of these rights is to be evicted. So in other words, they cannot simply physically kick you out of the home. You must be evicted like a tenant who has not paid rent. If after the quick eviction hearing you still does not leave, then, one can get a Writ and have the authorities forcibly relocate you.

In short, you have the right to stay there, but as long as the owner(s) want you to stay there.

The fact that your phone and utilities are in your name does not give you "extra" protection. All that matters is your relationship with the owner(s).

Now, if one owner wants you to leave and the other does not, then the owner that wants you to leave cannot force you to do so - the decision must be unanimous. Any owner can have you in the property as a tenant at sufferance as long as at least one of the owners want this. However, I am sure that this still possibly makes you a little uneasy.

Someone in your situation may wish to enter into an agreement for rent even if symbolic. Even if $5 a month. All that is needed is a lease for however long the owner(s) is/are willing to sign (at least one). Once this is done, and if the $5 (or whatever the symbolic amount) is paid, they cannot ask you to leave.

Let me know if you need a sample, simple landlord/tenant agreement.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

My question was NOT whether they can evict me, the question, which I evidently didn't make clear, is whether he can keep my daughter from entering my apartment to visit me. Thanks, Deirdre

Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
D,

Ah, my apologies and thank you for that clarification!

the question, which I evidently didn't make clear, is whether he can keep my daughter from entering my apartment to visit me. Thanks, Deirdre

The answer is no. As a tenant (even if tenant at sufferance), a tenant has the right to have company over. Unless there is something in writing that specifically prohibits visitors (and there is not, I gather), a tenant has the right to have people over. So he cannot (or should not) prevent this.

Even if a tenant at sufferance, one still retains the majority of tenant rights, including the above.

Apologies again for the misunderstanding earlier.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 87075
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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