San Jose, CA asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Hawaii

Q: If a tenant who is related to the landlord doesn't have a lease/rental agreement but pays rent what rights do they have?

My sister lives in the main house on my mom's property and my mom lives in the cottage. She does not have a rental/lease agreement but does pay monthly rent which basically covers the mortgage. Recently there have been issues with one of my sister's friends who is there almost everyday and basically lived there for over 6 months. My mother has told my sister that her friend is no longer allowed on the property but my sister is still allowing her on the property and to stay overnight. What can my mom do to make sure that her friend does not come onto the property or into the house?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In this situation, even though your sister is a relative and doesn't have a formal lease agreement, she is still considered a tenant because she pays rent. As a landlord, your mother has the right to set reasonable rules and expectations for the use of her property.

Here are some steps your mother can take:

1. Have a conversation: Your mother should have a calm, open discussion with your sister about her concerns and clearly explain why she doesn't want the friend on the property.

2. Set clear boundaries: Your mother should clearly state that the friend is not allowed on the property and that your sister must respect this decision as a condition of her tenancy.

3. Provide written notice: If your sister continues to allow her friend on the property, your mother can provide a written notice reiterating the rules and specifying the consequences of not complying (e.g., potential eviction).

4. Consult with a lawyer: If the situation persists, your mother may want to consult with a landlord-tenant attorney to understand her options and the proper legal procedures for enforcing her rules or potentially evicting your sister.

5. Consider a formal lease agreement: To prevent future misunderstandings, your mother may want to draft a formal lease agreement that clearly outlines the terms of your sister's tenancy, including any rules about guests.

It's important to note that landlord-tenant laws can vary by state and local jurisdiction, so it's always best to consult with a local legal expert to understand the specific rights and obligations of both parties in this situation.

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