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Ask CalAttorney2 Your Own Question
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing both landlords and tenants in residential and commercial property disputes.
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Renting a single home from my father past seven years.

Customer Question

renting a single home from my father for the past seven years. After losing my job last year - my credit dropped drastically and my bills have been backed up. While I have secured another job, my Dad and step mother advised me that the rent did not need to be paid the last 3 months and now they have served me with a 3 day notice to vacate. Reason behind this is I would not agree to close my bank account and sign over my paycheck to my step mother in a bank account she opened in her name to go on a budget and have bills and allowance allocated by them. Other control measures were included in the ultimatum; and I agreed to leave- applied and got on a waiting list for a low income 2 bedroom property where my children can remain in the same school district. My father is aware of my intention that I am packing as fast as I can- he finally replaced the furnace and central air unit as he advised he is preparing the house to sell. He owns multiple commercial and residential properties and businesses. He is a self made multi-millionaire and this home that I have rented at a reduced rate of $500 per month is owned and aid in full as are all of his businesses and properties. All I wanted was a relationship with my father not a dictator to control my every move. I am 34 years old- divorced and I have 3 children, my daughters are 13 and 4 and my son is 9. I had a 3.2 GPA before I lost my job last year in a pursuit towards my Bachelor's degree and I have always been an exemplary mother. I almost and I would like to know- do I have any rights or recourse to stop this process and allow at least 90 days to get into another home? I never signed a lease - but up until 3 months ago- I have always paid and even gave him money from a settlement I received last year or so ago. Over $29,000 and I gave them $16,000 as repayment and rent in advance for one year. Please advise - they do not need the money or the house- I am being punished for not following his orders. I need help from someone who could help me stand up for myself and my children.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
Dear Customer,Please understand this is not so much of "standing up for you and your children" as giving you a practical analysis of your legal rights as a tenant with your landlord (your familial relationship is not at issue, this is a landlord/tenant dispute).The 3 day notice is improper because the landlord waived rent. (You cannot be late paying rent if your rent was waived).The landlord can try filing an unlawful detainer action against you based on this improper 3 day notice, but you will want to ensure that you file an appearance and defend the action based on the fact that no rent was due (it was waived for these months).The landlord can terminate your lease (without cause) with 30 days notice, after which they can go through with the unlawful detainer process (file a successful eviction suit). (you cannot get 90 days, but you can get more time - if you appear and defend the action in court, and wait until the very last to move out, you may be able to get 3 months out of it, but you will have an eviction judgment on your rental record which can make it more difficult to rent in the future).If you are actually served with an unlawful detainer summons and complaint, contact your local bar association and see if there are any legal aid clinics in your county (many jurisdictions have assistance for tenants). But do not miss the deadline to file your answer.The general eviction/unlawful detainer process is outlined below:Terminating a tenancy-1) Notice: The first step in any termination is giving notice, the landlord can simply give notice that they no longer want the tenant to live there (this is usually 30 days, or 60 days, and it can be done for no reason whatsoever, there is no fault, and while the tenant must relocate, they are not being "evicted" and there is no blemish on their rental history), they can give a "notice to pay or quit" (usually 3 day or 5 day depending on the state, and the tenant has this amount of time to pay rent that they missed or move out), "notice to "cure or quit" (the tenant has breached the lease - broken something, noisy, etc. and must stop it or fix it within the notice period, again 3 days, 5 days, or 10 days), or a "notice to quit" (this is a 3 day or 5 day notice that says the tenant has messed up so badly they can do nothing but move out within the notice period - there is no chance to "cure" - this often happens when there is illegal activity on the property). 2) Unlawful detainer/forcible entry and detainer (this is the legal proceeding where the landlord goes to court and sues the tenant to get possession - the tenant has an opportunity to appear and defend the action, common defenses include improper notice, breach of the lease (such as failure to maintain the property - "inhabitable conditions"). If the tenant answers the complaint, the parties can take "discovery" from one another and get additional information before a court trial before a judge. 3) A judgment of possession/writ of eviction - if the landlord wins the trial, they get a judgment of possession and the court will issue a "writ of eviction." 4) Forcible eviction - this happens when the Sheriff or Constable serves the writ of eviction - some jurisdictions give a courtesy notice the day or two before the eviction, others do not, but the end result is the sheriff overseeing the landlord's movers removing all of the tenant's possessions from the property and placing them on the curb, and the tenants are forcibly removed from the property. At that point, the landlord can change the locks and the tenant can no longer return (They have been "evicted").