Thursday, March 12, 2009

Renting a Room From a Friend. Lodger explained.

David owns a house in California. His friend James was going through a divorce, so David offered for him to rent a room in his house, by ask him to throw some weekly money towards food, beer and utilities. James got a uhaul and loaded his last possessions up, and put them in Davids garage.

James is not a tenant. He is a lodger

A lodger is someone who shares the resources and facilities with the landlord. In most jurisdictions, if there is only one lodger (i.e. David only 'rents' one room), they are NOT protected by the local landlord protection laws. STo evict them you usually need to give reasonable notice, which is usually the same amount of time as the money they contribute. So in James case this would be one week notice.

James is not protected by eviction laws, procedures etc. He is simply a guest, and would be considered a trespasser if he stays beyond his welcome period. In California Penal Code 602.3 allows the cops to take him away kicking and screaming if he is past the notice period.

Now after three weeks of living, David asked James about his plans. James said he would be looking for a new place as soon as he saves up first and last, which will be anther two weeks.
2 weeks later James picks up and leaves, with all his stuff behind.

David now needs to follow proper laws for selling abandoned property. In California that is Civil Code 1980. Whenever a tenant leaves property the usually steps are give the tenant notice (sending to their old address), and wait a certain period of time. You then sell the goods at auction, and keep whatever is owed to you. Technically the owner of the abandoned goods is allowed to receive the difference.

Now if David had more then one room rented, James would be considered a Tenant. So if he was kicking up a storm in the house, David would need to follow the proper eviction procedures, and could not just give him unilateral notice. Whenever you are living somewhere that includes any of the following

  • Share the kitchen with the landlord
  • Are living in connection with work (farm, nanny)
  • Half way houses, correctional facilities.
  • Rehab houses
  • Commercial properties not zoned for residence
  • Emergency shelters
  • Hospitals
  • House confiscated as a result of crime (grow op)
  • Where you share facilities with the owner of the house
  • Hotel/Motel
  • Campground

You are usually not a tenant, and not protected by tenancy laws. However you are protected by contractual agreements, so make sure that you read and understand any contract you have in relation to living or staying there.

If you are not sure about the status of your living accommodations, then contact your local housing board,. Alternatively you can ask through the link provided at the bottom of this article.

If you do have landlord tenant question, and need to speak to a lawyer, click HERE. Lawyers are online, and can answer your question within minutes for as little as $15.

Copyright © 2009 Peter MacSweeney.
All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author is forbidden. Contact the author through the comment form for all inquiries, including media.

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