How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask P. Simmons Your Own Question
P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34559
Experience:  12+ yrs. of experience including real estate law.
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
P. Simmons is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am an Attorney and think I know the answer but The owners

This answer was rated:

I am an Attorney and think I know the answer but The owners of my apartment complex are rather unscrupulous and I am too ill to deal with a trial unless necessary-can I be evicted for helping another tenant not be evicted? I was by the office in being told if I don't back,out of this matter I could be evicted? I practiced a far different kind of law back in DC but have been in LA since being hit by a car
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

That depends on if you are in a lease. If you are in a lease? Then your assisting a tenant with their disputes will not have any bearing on your lease. Certainly there would not be a violation of your lease in your assisting another in asserting their rights.

That said, CA law provides for "at will" tenancies. If you are not in a lease but in a month to month arrangement, the landlord OR you can end the relationship "at will". As you may recall from law school, an at will tenancy requires only that one side or the other give notice to end the relationship. They have to give you 30 days notice (and if you have lived in the complex more than 1 year that jumps up to 60 days for the landlord to notify the tenant they are terminating the rental agreement)

Under CA law the landlord can terminate the tenancy (with notice) for any reason (so long as it is not an illegal reason) or no reason at all.

An illegal reason (or bad reason) would be if they terminated the tenancy based on a protected status (like race/gender/religion/etc) OR if they evicted in retaliation for asserting rights.

Take a look at this statute

§4.06 Retaliatory Eviction
Residential landlords must not take any of the following actions in retaliation for the tenant’s exercising his or her legal rights [see CC §1942.5(a), (c)]:

Increasing rent,
Decreasing services, or
Causing a tenant to quit the rental property involuntarily.
A tenant may not waive his or her rights under this statute. [CC §1942.5(d).]

A tenant has a valid affirmative defense if he or she can show that the landlord retaliated against him or her in violation of CC §1942.5. In addition, both residential and commercial tenants have a common-law affirmative defense for retaliatory actions by the landlord. [See Barela v Superior Court (Valdez) (1981) 30 C3d 244, 251; Rich v Schwab (1998) 63 CA4th 803, 811; Custom Parking, Inc. v Superior Court (MacAnnan) (1982) 138 CA3d 90, 100–101.] If the tenant proves retaliation by a preponderance of the evidence, he or she is entitled to a judgment of possession. [See CCP §1942.5; S.P. Growers Ass’n v Rodriguez (1976) 17 C3d 719, 724.]

It is not retaliatory eviction if a landlord in good faith communicates his or her belief that the tenant is violating a term of the lease. [Morrison v Vineyard Creek (2011) 193 CA4th 1254, 1268–1271 (tenant exercised legal right to conduct family child-care home on premises).]

The claimed retaliatory action must have occurred within 180 days of the tenant’s lawful exercise of rights. [See CC §1942.5(a).] Furthermore, the statutory defense may be used only once in a 12-month period. [See CC §1942.5(b).] No limit applies to the common-law defense of retaliatory eviction. [See Glaser v Meyers (1982) 137 CA3d 770, 774.]

A tenant who successfully defends a UD action on the ground of retaliatory eviction is entitled to recover both actual and punitive damages in addition to retaining possession of the property. [See CC §1942.5(a), (f).]

So...if they are terminating your tenancy based on your helping another exercise their rights? You have a cause of action under this statute (and could sue for retaliatory eviction).

Let me know if you have more questions, happy to help if I can
P. Simmons and 4 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you