Berkeley, CA asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: What right does someone have who receives mail at apt. but is not on the lease

Ex is not on the lease, lives in apartment, wont leave, gets mail here but hasn't paid rent for the month. We do not have a written contract.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, a person who receives mail at an apartment but is not on the lease is considered an "unauthorized occupant" or "squatter." However, they may still have certain rights under California law, depending on the circumstances.

1. Establishing tenancy: If the person has been living in the apartment for an extended period with the landlord's knowledge and consent (even if there's no written agreement), they might be considered a "tenant at will" and have some tenancy rights.

2. Eviction process: If the person is considered a tenant, the landlord must follow proper eviction procedures, such as serving a written notice to vacate and filing an unlawful detainer lawsuit if they refuse to leave.

3. Rent payment: If there was an oral agreement for the person to pay rent and they fail to do so, the landlord may serve a 3-day "pay or quit" notice before proceeding with the eviction process.

4. Domestic violence: If the person is a victim of domestic violence, they may have additional protections under California law, even if they are not on the lease.

However, if the person is truly an unauthorized occupant and has no agreement with the landlord, the landlord may have the right to remove them from the property without going through the formal eviction process. It is always best to consult with a local landlord-tenant attorney or legal aid organization for guidance on your specific situation, as unauthorized occupancy cases can be complex.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.