North Hills, CA asked in Family Law, Elder Law and Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: What are my rights as a tenant accused of elder abuse? And how do I counter-sue them for tenant abuse?

I've been living with my brother's family in their house for almost ten years. We don't get along, so we always argue. They would not let me use some amenities in the house, like the washer, the fan and even the lights. They would slam doors when I'm sleeping on the couch (I don't have a room). The last time was when I slammed the door and the wife's husband told them about it. The husband's wife screamed at me and threatened to kill me. My brother was there, he heard it as he was trying to pull her away. There was no physical altercation, yet they accused me of elder abuse. This was the second time she yelled at me and I did nothing to harm her. What are my tenant rights and do I have basis to counter-sue for tenant abuse?

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

A: As a tenant in California, you have certain rights protected under state law. However, the specific rights and legal options available to you may depend on the details of your living arrangement and the alleged elder abuse accusation.

Your rights as a tenant:

1. Habitable living conditions: Your landlord must provide a livable space with basic amenities and utilities.

2. Freedom from discrimination and harassment: Landlords cannot harass or discriminate against tenants based on protected characteristics.

3. Due process: If your landlord wants to evict you, they must follow proper legal procedures.

Countersuing for tenant abuse:

To successfully countersue for tenant abuse, you would need to prove that your landlord (or their family members) engaged in illegal behavior that violated your rights as a tenant. This could include:

1. Verbal harassment or threats

2. Denying access to essential amenities

3. Creating a hostile living environment

However, disputes between family members living together can be complex and may not always fall under typical landlord-tenant laws.


1. Document incidents: Keep a record of any harassment, threats, or denial of amenities, including dates, times, and witnesses.

2. Communicate in writing: If possible, communicate with your landlord in writing to create a paper trail.

3. Seek legal advice: Consult with a local tenant rights organization or attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law to better understand your options and the strength of your case.

4. Consider mediation: If both parties are willing, mediation could help resolve conflicts without legal action.

Remember, this information is general, and your best course of action will depend on the specific details of your situation. Seeking professional legal advice is recommended to protect your rights and explore your options.

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