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I just signed a new lease about two weeks ago in California.

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I need an additional bedroom...
I just signed a new lease about two weeks ago in California. I need an additional bedroom for my child who is moving back (18 yr old). Can I cancel lease with no penalty? Can the landlord charge me more rent? What would the penalty be? Thank you
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 2 hours by:
6/24/2010
Real Estate Lawyer: RobertJDFL, Lawyer replied 8 years ago
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
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Satisfied Customers: 15,330
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You couldn't simply cancel the lease as this would constitute a breach of the contract without good cause, in which case the landlord could sue you and seek to recover up to the remainder of the lease.

The best thing to do here is to negotiate with the landlord to see if there are larger units available to rent (assuming this is an apartment complex). I'm sure they'd be willing to accommodate you moving to a larger space, though it's not uncommon for a landlord to charge a small "transfer fee" for doing so, and charging more rent for a larger space.

If this isn't an apartment complex, but a single family residence, and you must leave, or the complex has nowhere for you to relocate to, you are still better off negotiating with the landlord to get out of the lease and see what they would do. Some landlords will let you out with paying only one month's additional rent as a penalty, others may let you sublease the space to someone else.

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

This is a single family residence and not an apartment complex.

If I let my child in "temporarily" what could the landlord do?

How many weeks, months could I get away with it?

What would be my worst case scenario if she moved in without approval?

Real Estate Lawyer: RobertJDFL, Lawyer replied 8 years ago
Chances are, there are restrictions within the lease as to how many people can live in the household. There could also be restrictions on only people who are on the lease being allowed to live in the home (that's more common in leases).

If the landlord discovered that the child was living there, as opposed to visiting, he could seek to evict you for breach of the lease. How long you got away with it depends on how long it would take the landlord to catch on. If the landlord actually sued for eviction, it would take about a month to go through the courts.

Worst case scenario if you move her in without approval is that you violate the lease because you're adding an additional person, which means you breach the lease, the landlord finds out, and then starts proceedings to evict you.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

So if the landlord wanted to evict me because of the extra child not on lease would that cost me anything?

Would I still have to pay for the breach of the lease?

I'm hoping he allows me to let her in and keep the rent the same since he is a friend of mine, and I wouldn't mind paying a little more on the monthly rent. What do you suggest I do?

Real Estate Lawyer: RobertJDFL, Lawyer replied 8 years ago
A breach of the lease is the same as a breach of contract. That means if he did evict you, he could sue you for the balance of the lease (in other words, however many months you have left on the lease term). However, he does have an obligation to try to find a new tenant as soon as possible, too (he couldn't turn away a possible new tenant just to try to get more rent from you, in other words).

I'd talk to the landlord and explain the circumstances. It's certainly a reasonable request, and if he's a friend of yours, he's probably even more willing to try and work something out with you. I wouldn't try to hide it from him. Not only do I think he'll find out, I think he'd be more upset to find out that way than if you were just honest with him.
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