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Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  15 years exp all aspects of general law
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Would it be possible to provide a few recent California

Customer Question

Hi Richard, would it be possible for you to provide a few recent California cases that indicate a three-month gratuitous guest who purchased some minor household items is entitled to treatment as a tenant and therefore 30-days notice? This would be very important as it would refute the California legal sourcebook used by law enforcement -- or at least it would clarify the definitions/interpretations of gratuitous guest and tenant. Thanks in advance!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello there -

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Richard reviewed the question and declined to respond and thus the moderators have sent it to several lawyers over the past day for a response and none of the lawyers have been inclined to answer the question. This is because such case law does not exist in CA or in any other state in the US. The Landlord Tenant law and cases which have been heard in CA appeals courts come down on the side of the Tenant in a situation that you describe above.

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You see, the legal measuring point of whether or not a person is a guest or a tenant is NOT whether or not they are paying rent to the landlord or to the tenant who actually signed the lease with the landlord. It is not even whether or not they purchased items as furniture for the unit or moved items into the place that make it appear that he or she is living there on a full time basis. The measuring point in these cases is the number of nights that any such "guest" has actually spent sleeping the unit. If the time period has been less than a month and a landlord can show that the "guest" is truly a guest at the unit -- that the guest has not spent more than a few nights at the unit on a continuous basis during the preceding 30 days prior to the police being called to remove an "unwanted guest" from a unit, then the landlord will have a case and the police should remove that person as an unwanted guest. However, if the tenant can show some proof to the police that they have lived there continuously for several weeks and then beyond the 30 days or more mark, then the police will err on the side of every caution and simply tell the owner/landlord to use the civil eviction method for a tenant under the landlord / tenant laws.

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I have not seen the CA legal sourcebook used by law enforcement, but such manuals are rechecked frequently against current law and if the conclusion in that sourcebook states what I have told you above, you will not find anything to contradict this in current case law.

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I truly wish that I could tell you something differently here, but I cannot do that. In order to get rid of such a person you will have to give a 30 day notice to quit the premises and if they do not move by the end of the 30 days then you have to go to your local county district/civil court and file an unlawful detainer / eviction action against the person. Then, if they fail to move after the court has ordered them to move, the Sheriff's office can be called and the Sheriff will remove the person and their belongings from your property.

The 30 day notice to the tenant to quit is used in cases where no rent has been paid and no rent has been due for the time the person lived in the unit/apartment. In the absence of a written lease agreement setting forth the terms and conditions of when the tenant is to move in and out of the unit, the law presumes that the "rental" period is a month to month tenancy of thirty days each month and any landlord who lets out the unit or a portion of the unit without a lease has the legal right to provide a written notice to quit in thirty days time.

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please let us know if you have any follow up questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating so I will be given credit for assisting you today. THANK YOU VERY MUCH

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MARY

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thanks. Can you provide California case cites for what you describe, that is minimal bases under which a gratuitous guest is treated as a tenant based on time spent as a guest?
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.
Hello again -
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In depth case research is beyond the scope of what we do here in the question and answer session. We can certainly perform such in depth research for you but there would be Additional Charges under the Additional Services program offered by Just Answer. However, here is a case that possession without any further agreements and without paying rent is still considered a tenancy at will in CA law and thus, the "tenant" is entitled to a thirty day notice and appropriate eviction proceedings. http://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/2d/133/supp790.html
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In addition, here is the website address to the CA dept of consumer affairs Landlord and Tenant guide which has some discussion on this topic and notes quite clearly that even a hotel or motel owner must ask "guests" who stay longer than 30 days to sign out of the hotel/motel room after each 30 day period of staying in the hotel or motel room in order for the hotel/motel to maintain the relationship as a transient guest rather than a tenant. http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/whois.shtml#footnote8
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Again, if the "guest" has been occupying the room or unit for less than 30 days, you have grounds to contact the police and ask them to be removed as a trespasser. However, once you get beyond the thirty day period and the person has overstayed their "guest" transient status, even in the absence of an oral or written tenancy agreement and in the face of not paying any rent, you must use a formal written notice and eviction proceedings in order to get them out of the room or unit and your property. The longer the time period that the original guest has stayed after the initial thirty day period, the greater his or her claim to tenancy status is.
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If you use the case and guide above as starting points, you can research the topic in a more indepth manner and what you will end up with is a few cases that when cobbled together actually represents the status of the law on this subject in CA. The same is true of all US states (my own next door neighbor just went through the same thing and the police refused to remove a person who had stayed 43 days at their house, forcing her into a formal eviction proceeding -- in fact, when the police left her house, she immediately stormed over and rang my doorbell and asked the same questions that you have asked above. She then gave a proper 30 day notice and it took about 60 days to get them out through court action from start to finish).
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Again, I wish I could tell you something differently on this topic but these landlord and tenant laws have been developed over the past 100 years in most states and there is a definite slant in protecting any person who gets past the thirty day mark as a "tenant".
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MARY
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Please press a positive rating under this ANSWER box so I will be paid for my time assisting you today. Pressing a positive rating will not cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as the trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!

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