Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in California

My roommate is trying to kick me out without notice, can she do that?

I have a couple of questions. I currently live with my sister, roommate, in a rental home. (My name is not on the rental agreement) Early this month, I came home early and she had changed the locks to the house without telling me. When I asked her about it, she didn't say anything to me. I went home again last night, and I wasn't allowed in the house. I finally was able to get into the house and she told me that I had 10 minutes to pack up my stuff and leave or she would donate it to charity. I'm wondering what my legal rights are because I've paid all the bills. Can she change the locks without me knowing? How much notice does she have to give me to ''evict'' me? Is it true that if I'm gone for 5 days in a row that my home is not considered my place of residence? On the security deposit, when we moved into the house, I paid half of the deposit. Should she pay me my half of the deposit upon my departure? Thank you for your help.

Asked on 10/27/05, 3:36 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

Re: My roommate is trying to kick me out without notice, can she do that?

You are a tenant and have the rights of a tenant, including a 3-day notice for nonpayment of rent and violation of conditions of the rental agreement, and 30 or 60 days' notice for regular eviction (depending on length of time you lived there). Nevertheless, the reality is she changed the locks. If you wish to pursue her financially after you relocate, feel free to do so. You'd be entitled to the difference in your rent, perhaps moving expenses, and the deposit. By the way, she has to refund your deposit within a short time after you move and, if she doesn't, she has to account in writing for the deposit funds. Good luck to you.

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Answered on 10/27/05, 3:54 pm

H.M. Torrey The Law Offices of H.M. Torrey

Re: My roommate is trying to kick me out without notice, can she do that?

your sister has no legal right to do this to you, especially in the illegal manner she is trying to get away with here. you are a lawful tenant under california law, and as such, your sister has to act as a landlord in following the same unlawful detainer proceedings that any landlord would have to do to "evict" a tenant, if at all possible. your relationship with your sister has NOTHING to do with this legally at all. in fact, if your sister locks you out or gives your personal belongings away, she is the ONE criminally or civilly liable to YOU period. If you do decide to VOLUNTARILY leave under the circumstances, your sister is liable to return your deposit just like any landlord, so long as you have not caused damage(s) to the premises, etc...

your BEST option here would be to consult with an attorney, and/or have an attorney IMMEDIATELY send your sister a legal letter informing her of YOUR rights and her LIABILITY if she continues her threats or illegal conduct toward you. you may contact us today for such assistance.

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Answered on 10/27/05, 4:17 pm

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