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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default Can a Tenant Be Evicted/Arrested Immediately if the Unit is Not Legal

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

    Myself and my roommate have been living in a detached garage since March 6th, 2020 and we pay rent with no issues. We have a key to the house so we have to walk 100 feet to shower, use the bathroom or cook as we have no plumbing or kitchen. This morning we got a visit from a police officer and a city code enforcement officer who explained to us they had received a complaint and it was not legal for us to live in a detached garage and we could be arrested immediately. I asked if we still had a right to 30 days to find a new place to live and the police officer said "No, you are not entitled to eviction proceedings because the unit is illegal" The code enforcement officer asked if we had anything in writing from our landlord and we did and handed it to him, he read it and handed it back and looked at the police officer and said "it looks like they are subletting", and then told us we had to leave and they would be back later to make sure we did.

    They then went to the main house and told our landlord that we could not live here. We never open the main garage door except its open 6 inches from the ground due to the heat, After they left I peaked under the door and saw 2 police cars and 3 city vehicles dealing with 2 cars who's owners had set up camp in the alley/parking lot 50 feet directly in front of our garage door with mattresses, lawn chairs and bags of junk and of course they couldn't have picked one of the 11 other garages that are side-by-side along that alley to do this in front of. So I don't think anyone complained about us, the officers simply saw our garage door open 6 inches and heard us talking or the TV and walked around and looked through our open side door, and its pretty obvious from seeing the fridge, bed, couch, microwave etc... that we live here.

    So the question is: Can the police just come and arrest us or force us out due to the garage not being legal to live in?

    Thanks for any advice, this happened 4 hours ago from the time I posted this and if we had to leave at once or go to jail, we would lose everything and our 2 cats would go to Animal Control and we would have to adjust to a new life of being homeless.

    Sean G

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    18,302

    Default Re: Can a Tenant Be Evicted/Arrested Immediately if the Unit is Not Legal

    Quote Quoting orbital
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    Myself and my roommate have been living in a detached garage since March 6th, 2020 and we pay rent with no issues. We have a key to the house so we have to walk 100 feet to shower, use the bathroom or cook as we have no plumbing or kitchen.
    My first thought is "How stupid to pay rent to live in a garage with no water, no heat, no cool, no cooking." But I suppose you have your reasons though you are now coming face to face with how bad an idea it is.

    Quote Quoting orbital
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    So the question is: Can the police just come and arrest us or force us out due to the garage not being legal to live in?
    I doubt it. It's not a criminal offense unless the owner calls it trespassing and asks that you be removed. It's a code violation that would have to be reported to the city, the owner cited, and you evicted with due process.

    However, if you want to take a chance on saying no to the police when they come back, that's up to you. Report back later.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    4,301

    Default Re: Can a Tenant Be Evicted/Arrested Immediately if the Unit is Not Legal

    You have access to the house under your agreement with the owner. You might want to go take a really long shower until you find a new place to live.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    18,302

    Default Re: Can a Tenant Be Evicted/Arrested Immediately if the Unit is Not Legal

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    You have access to the house under your agreement with the owner. You might want to go take a really long shower until you find a new place to live.
    We need a like button on this site.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,889

    Default Re: Can a Tenant Be Evicted/Arrested Immediately if the Unit is Not Legal

    If the space is so uninhabitable that the municipality condemns it, you can be kicked out without even an "eviction" process. Arrest isn't going to happen unless you persist and defying the legal authority to have you leave

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