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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    9

    Default Laws Around Non-Paying Tenant Living with You in Your Primary Home

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: CA

    Here is the situation:
    In my primary home, where I have been living since late 2009. While going through divorce, I started renting out rooms to other tenants to help pay spousal support. I rented a room to a tenant some time back in 2012. The tenant was in good condition until May 2017, following a stroke he became paralyzed and pretty much bedridden. I have not collected any rent from him since May 2017 up until now (August 2019) while he is still staying at my place. This translates to several tens of thousands of dollars already. I have never claimed him as a dependent either or taken any kind of tax deductions for him. Strictly out of good heart and good will I have helped the person recover to a point where he is now able to walk a little without crutches and move around but probably still ways away from joining workforce and we donít know for sure if he ever would be able to start working. Perhaps, the person will remain thankful and not make any legal claims but historically none of my good deeds have gone unpunished; so I want to be legally protected. Helping someone out at my will is different from being legally forced to do so. I donít want to be punished for having a decency to take care of someone in real need, someone literally struggled for weeks to stay alive in hospital at the time. My question is, does this situation pose any potential legal risk to me or my property, at this point? If yes, what are my options? Should I continue letting him stay at my place, if so is there any kind of legal statutory limit?

    Thanks in advance for your response and guidance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,221

    Default Re: Laws Around Non-Paying Tenant Living with You in Your Primary Home

    He is still just a tenant. You have just not chosen to collect the rent. He has not become your legal dependant. There is always some liability if you allow anyone on your property.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,125

    Default Re: Laws Around Non-Paying Tenant Living with You in Your Primary Home

    what are my options?
    That's up to you. One option, of course, is to give him his walking papers (pun intended).

    He's been a tenant for more than a year so you have to give him at least 60 days written notice (CA Civil Code 1946.1) that his tenancy is terminated as of date.

    http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/fa...tionNum=1946.1.

    When you hand it to him makes sure you have a witness to the delivery and. of course, keep a copy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    1,638

    Default Re: Laws Around Non-Paying Tenant Living with You in Your Primary Home

    Quote Quoting ca_law_
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    While going through divorce, I started renting out rooms to other tenants to help pay spousal support.
    Has your divorce been finalized or is it still pending?


    Quote Quoting ca_law_
    View Post
    does this situation pose any potential legal risk to me or my property, at this point?
    Virtually every situation you encounter poses "some legal risk."


    Quote Quoting ca_law_
    View Post
    If yes, what are my options?
    Options for what? If you're talking about protecting yourself against risk, the way you do that is by carrying appropriate insurance coverage. If you're not sure you have appropriate coverage, sit down with an insurance agent.


    Quote Quoting ca_law_
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    Should I continue letting him stay at my place, if so is there any kind of legal statutory limit?
    Whether you continue allowing him to live in your home is entirely up to you. I'm not really sure I understand your question about a "legal statutory limit." You are free to allow someone to live with you as long as you like.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Laws Around Non-Paying Tenant Living with You in Your Primary Home

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    You are free to allow someone to live with you as long as you like.
    And ask them to leave as soon as you like (with appropriate notice).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Laws Around Non-Paying Tenant Living with You in Your Primary Home

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    And ask them to leave as soon as you like (with appropriate notice).
    To be more precise, one can ask anything without regard to notice. Appropriate notice is required to force someone to leave against his/her will.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Laws Around Non-Paying Tenant Living with You in Your Primary Home

    Has your divorce been finalized or is it still pending?
    Yes, done with spousal support as well, years ago; while my tenant was still physically healthy and paying rent.

    Options for what? If you're talking about protecting yourself against risk, the way you do that is by carrying appropriate insurance coverage. If you're not sure you have appropriate coverage, sit down with an insurance agent.
    Options to reduce my risk exposure that the tenant could make any potential claims on the property, ask for money if I ever want to sell the property or ask him to leave, ask for any kind of financial support later on.

    I'm not really sure I understand your question about a "legal statutory limit." You are free to allow someone to live with you as long as you like.
    What I mean by that is, I have not collected rent for over past two and half years. If I were to claim prior unpaid rent for over two years what is the statutory limit? Hypothetically, if he continues staying at my place rent free for next several years, would it give him any legal rights to the property or legal rights to claim some sort of support from me if I were to ask him to leave.

    I understand I could allow anyone to live in my house rent free but the question is can I also ask the person to leave whenever I want, especially if someone has been living rent free for years?

    Hope this clarifies my questions further.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,125

    Default Re: Laws Around Non-Paying Tenant Living with You in Your Primary Home

    Options to reduce my risk exposure that the tenant could make any potential claims on the property, ask for money if I ever want to sell the property or ask him to leave, ask for any kind of financial support later on.
    There is nothing you can do to actually prevent any of those things from happening. He can "claim," he can "ask." All you can do is defend yourself if they do happen. Best way to avoid the possibilities is to get him out as soon as legally possible.

    I have not collected rent for over past two and half years. If I were to claim prior unpaid rent for over two years what is the statutory limit?
    Again, you can "claim" but you aren't going to get. You voluntarily waived collecting rent when you became his caregiver. No court is going to award you any money since there was no agreement for payment and no demand for payment back then.

    if he continues staying at my place rent free for next several years, would it give him any legal rights to the property or legal rights to claim some sort of support from me if I were to ask him to leave.
    Given your paranoia over all this, why would you even (hypothetically) consider letting him stay.

    can I also ask the person to leave whenever I want, especially if someone has been living rent free for years?
    Yes.

    Just give him the required 60 days written notice and stop agonizing over this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Laws Around Non-Paying Tenant Living with You in Your Primary Home

    Quote Quoting ca_law_
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    Options to reduce my risk exposure that the tenant could make any potential claims on the property, ask for money if I ever want to sell the property or ask him to leave, ask for any kind of financial support later on.
    This person is not your child or dependent, and nothing you do can foreclose the possibility that he'll ask you for anything.


    Quote Quoting ca_law_
    View Post
    What I mean by that is, I have not collected rent for over past two and half years. If I were to claim prior unpaid rent for over two years what is the statutory limit?
    You can claim anything at any time. If you want to sue and get a judgment, the applicable statute of limitations is two years for money owed pursuant to a verbal agreement and four years for a written agreement.


    Quote Quoting ca_law_
    View Post
    Hypothetically, if he continues staying at my place rent free for next several years, would it give him any legal rights to the property or legal rights to claim some sort of support from me if I were to ask him to leave.
    Legal rights to the property? No. I'm not sure what "legal rights to claim" might mean, but this individual has no legal right to support from you.


    Quote Quoting ca_law_
    View Post
    the question is can I also ask the person to leave whenever I want, especially if someone has been living rent free for years?
    You can legally ask anything of anyone at any time. You can evict this tenant at any time as long as you give proper notice and otherwise follow the landlord-tenant law. You're not going to get stuck with him permanently just because you've allowed him not to pay rent or no matter how long you allow that condition to continue.

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    Again, you can "claim" but you aren't going to get. You voluntarily waived collecting rent when you became his caregiver. No court is going to award you any money since there was no agreement for payment and no demand for payment back then.
    I disagree. We don't have sufficient information to conclude that an effective waiver occurred.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    3,065

    Default Re: Laws Around Non-Paying Tenant Living with You in Your Primary Home

    This person has no income? Did this person file for disability after their stroke ? Are you saying you have been the sole support for this person since 2017 ?

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