Lodger laws? (California rental laws)

This is a discussion on Lodger laws? (California rental laws) within the Landlord vs Tenant Issues forum, part of the REAL ESTATE & PROPERTY LAW category; I am in CA renting a room from the owner who is also living in the home. I signed a ...

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Old Nov 18th, 2008, 02:42 PM   #1
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Default Lodger laws? (California rental laws)

I am in CA renting a room from the owner who is also living in the home. I signed a year lease agreement, but for unexpected reasons will need to break the lease. The couple initially gave me no indication this was going to be a problem and said they were thinking they may want a little more privacy now anyway and were not planning re-rent the room. I have given my 30 day notice and now am being hassled over what I am going to do with the remainder of our lease agreement. I have offered to help find a replacement, but they have refused. It seems to me, they want to leave the room vacant and have me pay rent on it for the rest of the year lease. Can they do this? Don't they have to at least try to re-rent if they are going to keep me on the hook for the remainder of the lease? What can they do to me if I just walk away?
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 09:02 AM   #2
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Default re: Lodger laws? (California rental laws)

They can refuse your offer of a sub-leasor. If you can find another suitable tenant to sign a NEW lease with them, that may be alright. Ask for their application form and their criteria so you can send them applications of qualified people interested in the room. They don't have to accept just anyone, the person has to be qualified per their criteria, just as you were. If they don;t want to have you do this, they are obligated to do it on their own.

In CA, they have an obligation to attempt to re-rent the unit if they want to collect the rent from you after you leave. Since they have this obligation, they cannot just leave it empty and collect your rent. (In some states this is allowed, but not in CA.) Since they have this obligation, they won't be able to collect rent from you for the remainder of the lease. They can only collect until it is re-rented or for a few months of earnest attempts at re-renting.

If you just leave, you will be responsible for the rent until re-rented or until a few months of earnest attempts are made to re-rent. (This is why lease break clauses in many leases say 2 months of rent in a termination fee is required.) They do have to try to re-rent it or they can't collect from you since they aren't trying to replace the lost income. You will be responsible for advertising costs since they wouldn't have incurred those if you had kept your end of the contract. If they use an agent to find a new tenant, you will be responsible for that cost. Of course, your deposit will pay for any damages to the room, unpaid rent and costs, and the rest (if any) refunded to you within 21 days. If you fail to pay any of the money you are obligated to pay, they can sue you in small claims court and get a judgement against you. This will show up on your credit report and lower your score. You cannot simply just leave and break a lease without some consequences.
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 11:02 AM   #3
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Default re: Lodger laws? (California rental laws)

Thanks for the helpful response. How does the 'lodger' clause factor into this. Since this is a lodging situation, according to CA law, one has to give notice with the same ammount of time as is between rent payments. Can a contract still be valid if this clause is out there?
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 08:44 AM   #4
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Default re: Lodger laws? (California rental laws)

Lodger laws are slightly different than residential rentals in some states. (Some states treat them more of a hotel situation.) But the lease is still valid even if the amount of notice required at the end of the lease is not listed. That is state law and doesn't have to be stated in the contract as you are expected to know state laws. (Driving laws aren't listed on your driver's license either - you are expected to know them.) That clause means the amount of notice required at the end of a lease or when on a month to month agreement is equal to the period between rents; a lodger who pays weekly only is required to give or get a week's notice, one who pays monthly has a 30 day notice, you give one day's notice if you pay daily rent.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 09:23 PM   #5
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Unhappy Re: Lodger laws? (California rental laws)

i am a single mother of two teenage boys. my boys admitted they smoked pot after the landlord in our home smelled pot but did not go in. This is wrong for my boys to have done this i know. but now the landlord wants to remove the TV, ground them for a month, take their cell phones for a month, random drug test,remove xbox,and forbid any friends to come into the house for a year. Can he do this, i rent m month to month (have know this family and they call me family for over 40 years), and can they just go into the room and remove the items. Can they evict me too? please help, desperate.
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Old Jun 5th, 2010, 02:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Lodger laws? (California rental laws)

Are these his items or yours? If they are his, he can give you written notice of the appropriate length that you will no longer have use of these items. After the notice expires, he can remove the items that belong to him. If the items are yours, he has no authority to touch them.

You have no lease. Your tenancy can be terminated at any time by simply giving you written notice of this. Use of drugs in the LL's house is a very appropriate reason to terminate any agreement, even a lease. Most states allow an abbreviated eviction on drug use in the property. I'd start looking for a new place. As a lodger in his house, you should know he can restrict who comes in.

Opinion only! As a parent, I would have done these things immediately upon finding out my teenagers were using drugs in my house. They would have been grounded, had no cell phones, no Xbox, and no friends over. Drug use and possession is a crime. Doesn't sound like you want to give them any punishment for this crime.
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Old Dec 24th, 2010, 02:06 PM   #7
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Confused Re: Lodger laws? (California rental laws)

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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
... my boys admitted they smoked pot after the landlord in our home smelled pot but did not go in. This is wrong for my boys to have done this i know. but now the landlord wants to remove the TV, ground them for a month, take their cell phones for a month, random drug test,remove xbox,and forbid any friends to come into the house for a year. Can he do this, i rent m month to month (have know this family and they call me family for over 40 years), and can they just go into the room and remove the items. Can they evict me too? please help, desperate.
If you own the items in question, cell phones, xbox, tv, No the homeower has no such right. As the Parent, you do, and should remove all items entertain for short period of time. Under lodger laws, he/she may deny access to anyone no on the rental agreement and may terminate your agreement with only a rental period payments notice. However do to possesion, and uses of illegal drugs, the landlord may have additional rights and duties. Clearly you and your boys are in breech of any rental agreement. It is never ok to conduct illegal activity, and this does not need to be specified in any agreement.

You mentioned being treated like family, and that appears to be Exactly what your landlord is doing. Be Thankful, Someone is Interested in helping you parent. You may wish to privately rein him or her in regarding makeing parenting decision for you or without consulting you. However, what has been requested is a resonable parenting response, and is a published as such by several experts and authorities in the field. You should be lucky that the police are not involved. Next time they will be.
You've placed the landlord in tough spot too. If the landlord was to accept the use of drugs by children, the property could be subject to siezure and forfiet, and even charged as an accessory to a crime.

This is SERIOUS, your kids are engaging in unlawful, and destructivel behavior. Pot, regardless of misinformation by the pro-use lobby, can cause permanent memory damage, and inhibits motor skills like driving a car. Clincial studies from around the world show this. On the adolescent brain drug use suspends the normal mental development. I think you should be more worried about becoming a better parent, than what your landlord is doing. You should even go further and send the boys to counciling for a few weeks, and enroll yourself in a parenting class like Parent Project.
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