Thank you for your question.
It is very possible that if Heritage Clinic was fronting the bill on a daily basis, it had the relationship with the motel. As such, any duty that the motel had in the agreement terminates upon notification from Heritage that funds are unavailable. Depending on whether the agency had a duty to you and why they stopped helping you, you may have recourse against them. However, the motel has the ability to terminate your guest status if they are apprised that you may not be paying them.
Keeping this in mind, here are the rules if you are found to have established the relationship with the motel. (Generally the following would apply if you are paying the bill.)
Generally, under California law, lodgers and residents of hotels and motels have the same rights as tenants.
If you are a resident in a hotel or motel, you do not have the rights of a tenant in any of the following situations:
- You live in a hotel, motel, residence club, or other lodging facility for 30 days or less, and your occupancy is subject to the state's hotel occupancy tax.
- You live in a hotel, motel, residence club, or other lodging facility for more than 30 days, but have not paid for all room and related charges owing by the thirtieth day.
- You live in a hotel or motel to which the manager has a right of access and control, and all of the following is true:
- The hotel or motel allows occupancy for periods of fewer than seven days.
- All of the following services are provided for all residents:
- a fireproof safe for residents' use;
- a central telephone service;
- maid, mail, and room service; and
- food service provided by a food establishment that is on or next to the hotel or motel grounds and that is operated in conjunction with the hotel or motel.
If you live in a unit described by either 1, 2 or 3 above, you are not a tenant; you are a guest. Therefore, you don't have the same rights as a tenant. For example, the proprietor of a hotel can "lock out" a guest who doesn't pay his or her room charges on time, while a landlord would have to begin formal eviction proceedings to evict a nonpaying tenant.
You have the legal rights of a tenant if you are a guest in a residential hotel which is in fact your primary residence. "Residential hotel" means any building which contains six or more guest rooms or efficiency units which are designed, used, rented or occupied for sleeping purposes by guests, and which is the primary residence of these guests.
It is unlawful for the proprietor of a residential hotel to require a guest to move or to check out and re-register before the guest has lived there for 30 days, if the proprietor's purpose is to have the guest maintain transient occupancy status (and therefore not gain the legal rights of a tenant). A person who violates this law may be punished by a $500 civil penalty and may be required to pay the guest's attorney fees.
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