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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Represents tenants and landlords in residential and commercial lease disputes
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If the second home on my property is permitted as a grandmothers

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If the second home on my property is permitted as a grandmothers house and my tenants were not of the permitted 62 years of age. Can my tenants destroy the house then sue me for the rent they paid and deposit, because the house was not used for the permitted use? Thanks MC

When you say the house was "permitted as a grandmother's house" what permit are you talking about?

Are you saying that as a condition of renting the property you would only rent it to a person 62 years of age or older?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Yes, when I bought the property, the second house was there. I quess it had to be rented as a grandmothers house where the minumim age should have be 62 years old. My tenants were in there twenty'and not the of the required age, I quess it doesn't matter, but I didn't know of the age requirement at the time I rented it, I thought a mother in law house was just a smaller home on the property. So I quess I'm quitly in that case, but they still had a nice home until they wrecked it. I know they're just rent dodgers looking for a scam to get out of rent, but can they collect any money from the scam? Thanks


Let's slow down. The fact that a second house on the property is called a "mother in laws house" is only an informal title for the house. It is not a legal permit or legal title which limits your use or your tenants use. That being said, you can choose not to rent to anyone under a certain age if you want. But you can't rent it out and then try to kick them out becuase you found out they were younger than you first thought. That being said, I do not think they can destroy your property and not pay you rent. However, we need to talk about what your contractual relationship is with these tenants and exactly what they did to the property.

1. Do you have a written lease?

2. What was the condition of the rental property prior to the tenant's moving in?

3. What happened to the property that cause it damage?

4. What is your evidence that the damage to the property was caused by the tenants?

5. What were the terms of your agreement to lease the property if you did not have a written agreement?

I look forward to hearing back from you.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.


According to the planning department, when the structual house was placed on the property, the mobil home was allowed to stay on the property for the owners at the time mother, as a mother in laws house. According to the county, since I don't live on the property I'm not allowed to rent the house out. That I was supposed to live on the property and rent the house only to someone 62 years and older.


As far as the mobile home was concerned, it was in adorable condition, I personally would not have mind living there myself if I was in that income range, meaning I don't have to rent, I own homes. Not bragging, trust me in this time and economy, NOT BRAGGING!!! Oh how nice it would be to be only broke and not millions in debt. Anyway back to

the case, lol.


He shared the garbage service with the neighbor in the house, until, he stop paying his half of the bill and the neighbor down sized his garbage service. He stop paying his half of the electric bill, so I paid it, not to have the tenants in the house get their PG&E shut off.


Then in March, he said he was moving out and said he was using his deposit as his last month, that was not the agreement according to the contract, but I was hoping he would just move and not be such a jerk, so I said okay. He didn't get out, then stayed until stayed, texting me and leaving messages that he was not going to let me down, he was good for his word and that in was going to pay me as soon as his school money from the army game in, then he went to the county to find out something on the house. The county building department posted a sign to vacate the property because they thought it wasn't permitted. So the guy left and didn't tell anyone where he went. Later he text and said he is sueing me for rent during the time he was there, his deposit and the $160.00 dollars a day for 21 days at the Holiday Inn. If I didn't mention it, he was on a month to month rental, we normally make people take a lease, but we decided to accept a month to month rental at his request. Anyway, what do you think I should do?


Thanks I really appreciate and respect your advice.


Respectfully, XXXXX XXXXX you to specifically answer my questions. I can't help you unless you cooperate with me and help me understand the situation.

1. Did you have a written lease agreement, yes or no?

2. What was the damage to the property?

3. Who caused the damage to the property?

4. The County posted a "vacate" sign on the tenant's front door because it was not zoned correctly?

5. Did the tenant move out because of the "vacate" sign posted by the County?

6. Had the tenant paid for the month in which he was living the property before he left?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.



I tried to answer question for question. Thanks


1) A written rental agreement. Not a lease


2) Repairs to the wall and ceiling, removal of months of garbage and cleaning of home and carpets


3) The mess and garbage was him, the water cooler was leaking but he refused to let me in to fix it. That cause the damage to the walls and ceiling. But it was my water cooler.


4) They (they being the Building Department) posted the sign stating it was unpermitted and unsafe and occupants must vacate the home. The Building department, did this because they believed the tenant, when he told them the Planning Department said it was a unpermitted house. The Planning department corrected the Building Department in the fact that it was all done with permits. However it was to only be permitted as a grand-mother-home. So with that tenant not be 62 years of age and me not actually living on the property. The house was in violation of the permitted use.


5) Yes, at least he says so.


6) No


I hope I have answered your questions, I really have tried. Thank you,


Thanks for responding. Sometimes its hard to get these things straight when we are not talking face to face.

You have a bit of an odd situation. You were renting the mobile home out , but this was not allowed under the property permit. It sounds like certain services were not provided, such as garbage service. This was a result of the tenant failing to pay his half of the bill. As a result of not having garbage service, the trash got piled up and caused damage to the mobile home. Also, the water cooler (refrigerator?) was not functioning and caused some damage. You state that you asked to be allowed to repair, but the tenant would not let you into the property.

You say you have a "rental agreement" as opposed to a lease agreement. I'm not sure what the difference would be legally without being able to examine the document. Finally, you state that the tenant has not paid you rent in 5 months, and owes you $3,150.00 in back rent. The damage to the property is at $1,000.00 and the tenant did not pay his electricity bill in the amount of $800.00.

It sounds like the tenant claims that he was evicted from the property without notice and is now claiming you owe him for the cost to stay at the hotel.

Technically, a landlord must give a tenant 30 days notice of move out if the tenant has lived there less than a year, and 60 days notice if the tenant has lived there longer than a year.

When you don't give notice, or as here, the tenant is forced to leave because of the government vacate order, then this triggers a claim for the tenant. The fact that the tenant owed back rent does not really do anything for you to defeat that claim because you have to go through an eviction procedure to legally get him out.

That being said, small claims courts are not going to make you pay where the tenant has not held up his end of the bargain and owes you a lot of rent.

If I were you, I would tell the tenant that the lease is terminated and that he has to pay all the rent he owes you. I would also tell him that he was illegally occupying that house after he gave you notice and did not move out. Tell him that you are going to sue him for the amount of unpaid rent, the repair costs and the unpaid electricity.

TexLaw and other Landlord-Tenant Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.


As I mentioned, being a owner of real estate today is truly not an asset, it's more like getting stuck with the hot potato. However, I do want you to know, that I appreciate your time and answer very much and would like to thank you. I added a bonus for you, I know it's not much, but it is truly all I can afford and more at this time. The nice thing is, I'm writing a book called "Finding your Miracle" to help those who are down on their luck. In which I state ... That life is much like a baseball game, that is played out in seperate innings and of course there will always be good and bad innings. However, the nice thing about life is, no matter how many times you strike out, no matter how many errors you've made, or runs the other team has scored. The game can not end as long as you're willing to step back up to the plate. If you're willing, one day you'll hit the ball, that scores the run, that wins the game. The nice thing about it is... When this happens, all the inning played prior to that one, will be written off as only practice. :) There is only one exception to this rule, a cheat, scammer, or fraudulant act will never be erased from one past or mind, until he or she, confronts those they've done wrong with a sincere apology. After that, only the hardest part is left to do, forgive themselves. My best to you, and thanks again for your help. Sincerely, Mark C

Well said,

Thank you and good luck,