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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 33801
Experience:  Attorney for over 15 years, landlord 26 years
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I need your help asap. I've been renting a room out to a

Customer Question

Hi there,
I need your help asap. I've been renting a room out to a couple and they agreed to pay me on the 1st of each month. I've been renting to them for a couple of months. There was only a verbal rental agreement (my stupidity), and at first they paid me the full rent as agreed upon. Then the following month they paid me rent in installments and since i had not found a new renter, i let them continue to do that. Today i misread an email from them stating she wanted to pay me $500 to stay for the rest of the month (which is half the amount). I misread it thinking they were staying another week only and agreed. I told them i misread it and they are saying they can't help i misread it and that basically they refuse to leave before the end of the month. I told them to either pay for the rest of the month or be out tomorrow and I'll refund them the $500. They are threatening to complain to property management over this and I'm the only one on the lease. What are my rights here? I'm in CA.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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Have you given them a written 3 day notice to pay or vacate?

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Are you living in the property along with the tenants?

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Is there anything in your lease that puts in occupancy restrictions to only you?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't sleep there but i come there here and there to study and my belongings are there. I'm the only one on the lease. No 3 day notice to them yet. Property management wants roommates to be on the lease but they are not.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

Ok, then any issue with the property management is between you and them, not the roommates/tenants and them. So this is just a bluff by them in reporting you to the management to divert attention from the fact that they aren't paying their rent.

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So I wouldn't worry about that.

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If you want to hold them to their agreement, then you need to give them a written 3 day notice to pay the full amount of the rent, regardless of the mistake in your email, and then file a formal eviction action in court if they don't do so.

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I don't see a judge enforcing a misstatement on your part considering your later correction once you realized the mistake.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi but wouldn't a court order take forever? I'm concerned that by the time they're evicted a week or rest of the month will pass anyway and i still won't be paid what they originally agreed upon. If they get out by the end of the month can i take them to small claims court and collect the rest without a rental agreement and just previous emails with proof of the original rent they agreed to pay to begin with?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

No, once the 3 day notice expires, you can immediately file an eviction action on the 5th day after you deliver the notice. The day of delivery doesn't count. Then it takes about 3 weeks, sometimes less to get a judgment and a writ of possession. Then on the 6th day after getting the writ, you can have the sheriff physically evict them if they haven't moved. So about a month from the time you give them the 3 day notice.

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But this ensures you can get them out. If you don't take formal legal action, they could then refuse to move at the end of the month and you are back to square 1 with having to start with a 3 day...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your time but what about claims court as i mentioned?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

If they don't pay you what you are owed for rent, you can always pursue them in small claims court to seek a judgment against them and then garnish any wages until the judgment is paid in full.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, one more thing. Obviously they won't give me their new address so how can i file a claim against them?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

That is the tricky part because you will have to track them down so you can have them served with a summons to come to court. But if you know where they work, you can have them served there..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, just realized i still need to rate your service and I will. I'm concerned i will not be able to locate them when they are out to have them served. I cannot afford the Pg&e payment now because of them shorting me so much on this month's rent so pg&e may be shutting off the power in a day or two. Can i get in trouble for this? If i can't afford it then i can't right? And maybe it will make them leave sooner. Just a reminder, I'm on the lease. Everything is in my name. Thank you.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

Honestly, they could claim that this is an illegal constructive eviction and that would not be good for you because it could give them grounds to sue you. Now whether they realize this or not I can't say. And even if they do, will they actually try to file suit, I can't say.. but it is a definite possibility.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't see how they can sue if they are already shorting me over $500...but if they tried couldn't i argue that? They have also been smoking pot and knew it was not okay in the apartment. Thank you again.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

They could try and sue, you could countersue and a judge would likely just call it even..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Very helpful. You're wonderful. Btw, I'm a 2nd year law student. Failed the baby bar once and preparing to take it again...
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome. And I definitely don't miss those days...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi i hope you're there. I sent a text to both of them earlier letting them know i was coming at a certain time to show the place and the room to a potential renter and asked if they could step out for the 45 minutes i was there. I went to show someone and they locked the bedroom door. I knocked and they didn't answer but it's not the type of door knob where you open it with a key so i have a feeling one of them was in there. They ignored my calls. I'm going back there with my boyfriend now. Again, I'm the only one on the lease and I'm not subleasing it to them. I'm just not there as much. What are my rights? I'm furious and fearful that they would stay past the 1st without paying me.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I rated you. Did it go through? If not, let me know and i will do it again. My internet reception has not been great so i apologize if it did not go through.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

With regard to them locking the door, until you evict them, they are in legal possession of the property and have the right to "exclusive use and possession" so they wouldn't have to leave for a showing. But you should have access to the room in the event of an emergency and this would be a violation of your rights as a landlord. But again, your recourse is to evict them if they are violating the lease in yet another way..

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And no, I don't see the question as having been rated yet so your rating must not have gone through..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Even though I'm a roommate renting a room to them and not an official landlord? Thank you so much again. Please send the rating link again and i will be sure to rate you as soon as i get it. Sorry for the delay.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

I am going to opt out of the question and open it up to other experts as it appears there is some type of technical difficulty that is preventing you from rating my service after I have posted many responses..

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Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I refuse to pay more. I do not want another lawyer and do not want to pay additional fees. The problem was that when I'm not on a wireless network my reception is not always the greatest. I hope you understand.

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