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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 37639
Experience:  I have handled Real Estate and Landlord Tenant matters for more than two decades.
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I am a "landlord" that has a one-year lease agreement with a

Customer Question

I am a "landlord" that has a one-year lease agreement with a boarder in Orange County, CA. We both share a townhouse. The lease ends October 31, 2015. The boarder has paid first and last rent up front. I am still owed rent for September (due on the 1st). Since I manage the property on behalf of the owner (who is well aware of the lease), do I have the right to place a password ***** the thermostat (set at the electric company's recommended 78 degrees) so there aren't uncomfortable disputes over the temperature? The lease includes "air conditioning." I am willing to change the temp for her to cool off the home for short periods of time. I have placed a new, high-powered fan in her room to help circulate and cool the air. The boarder regularly resets the thermostat at 73 degrees or lower running it for hours overnight. She has threatened lawsuits and withholding rent.
Please advise.
Thank you for your time.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

The owner is the landlord and you are merely a tenant who helps the landlord, and perhaps a sub-landlord if you rent to the other person. You share a unit with the other boarder and if you have the ability to set a password ***** the thermostat, then you have the right to do so.

The fact that you said that the unit has A/C does not mean that she will be entitled to control the temperature 24/7. The fact that you permanently set the temperature to a reasonable setting will not justify---legally---her withholding rent, and she would not prevail in a suit against you over this.

If she withholds rent, you may have to sue her for the rent, and as she is set to leave in October, I presume t=you have given notice that you do not intend to renew the rental agreement,

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you so that I can be compensated for helping you.

I wish you and yours the best in 2015,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your help. I may have to sue her for the remaining rent should she decide to withhold it. If I serve her with an eviction notice for non-payment, how many days do I need to provide to her to leave the premises?
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.


Under CA law, when rent is not paid, you would serve her with a 3-Day Pay or Quit notice. The day you serve the notice does not count. The first day of the 3 day notice is the following day. If she has not paid in full by the 4th day---so long as it is not a Sunday or legal holiday, you may then immediately file for eviction.

Below are links to the forms youwill use in the CA court to evict the tenant. If there are any other personsthere who are not tenants under your agreement, you must serve him with aseparate document if you do not identify and name them in the Unlawful DetainerComplaint.

Under the law, if the reason for eviction is the failure to pay rent, or a violation of the rules, you may file the eviction after the Three Day Cure or Quit Notice is served on them.

If they are month to month tenants and you just want them out, and they have been there less than 1 year, you must first serve/hand or post at their door a written 30 day Notice of Termination of Tenancy. If they have resided there more than a year, the notice must be a60 day notice. The process, after you file the Unlawful Detainer Complaint in the court, from start to finish takes onaverage3 to 4 weeks and I’m sorry, but there is no way to expedite it beyond that time frame.

If rent is paid on the first, you can serve the notice at any time, but it won't be effective (the end of the 30days) until the end of month following the day you first serve them with the Notice of Termination. Here is a link to the 30 day notice of termination form that you must first serve on them.

Here are the forms you will need---the Summons and Complaint for Unlawful Detainer, the Default form if they don't file an Answer to the Complaint, and a Judgment form:

Unlawful Detainer Form

Request for Entry of Default

Judgment Form

Default Declaration

Do it Yourself Guide for Evictions

Document to serve on othernon-tenant persons staying in the home, if you don’t identify and name them in the Unlawful Detainer Complaint

Three Day Pay or Quit Notice

Please remember to rate my service to you..

I wish you well,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What recourse do I have after I give her 3 day pay or quit and 30 day eviction notice? Do I change locks? Take possession of her belongings? How do I protect myself from her vengeance?
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

As you may not be aware, the Rules of JustAnswer specify that each customer ask one question in each question thread. These are new questions that you are asking, and have gone way beyond your initial inquiry about your ability to place a password ***** the thermostat. For new questions, the customer is asked to open a new question thread, or to accept an offer of additional services. I do sincerely ***** ***** any inconvenience this might cause you. I will process an offer to you for additional question and answer time.

You may ask for me personally by referring to me by name (Doug) in your new question and I will be able to assist you. As the questions that you are posting are new, I am required to ask you to please open up a new question thread for them. Thank you for your understanding.


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