When can someone be considered a lodger instead of a tenant?

Asked by Annoyedlandlord, San Jose, CA Thu Jan 7, 2010

'm a home owner who is renting out my converted garage (which is like a studio-separate entry way, kitchen, bath and utilities included) with shared common area (laundry room). This tenant has not paid rent and has given me notice that she will be leaving by text. However she has been vandalizing my property (cutting phone lines, lights, etc). and posing as a threat to me. In seeking help, I am told that I have to go through the eviction process. Since I, the owner and she, the renter, both live at the same address at a single family residence, can she be considered a "lodger" instead of a tenant? She's been served with a 3 day notice to pay or quit and she stated she was going to quit but made no attempt to move. I've also served her a 30 day notice to quit- as back up. I've gotten police reports on the property damage. I just want her out. If she falls under a "lodger" and not a tenant, I can make her leave-due to trespassing..right? And when she's out, what can I do w/ her stuff?

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Hislala, Home Owner, California
Sun Apr 1, 2012
I have a similar situation with a person living in my home and looking to end the tenancy. Help is much apprecitated. Thanks!
0 votes
Hislala, Home Owner, California
Sun Apr 1, 2012
Did you ever get rid of the tenant? What happened?
0 votes
John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Fri Jan 8, 2010
I do not understand why you are asking for legal advice on a real estate forum. Please pay an attorney and get proper advice before your lodger/tenant causes you even more grief.
0 votes
William Klopp, Agent, Morgan Hill, CA
Thu Jan 7, 2010
The California Department of Consumer Affairs is your best bet. They define a "lodger" as follows: a person who lives in a room in a house where the owner lives. The owner can enter all area occupied by the lodger, and has overall control of the house.

As a Realtor I am not a property management expert and therefore this is merely an opinion. Due to the nature, duration and extent of the situation you outlined above, I would seek legal counsel specializing in this area if you are unable to remedy the situation between the parties. My experience is that you can typically get a "free consultation" by a legal expert, however this may not always be the case so you should inquire prior to engaging anyone in this capacity.
0 votes
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Thu Jan 7, 2010
Oh, you need to look up California rental law http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/index.shtml and perhaps get an attorney. This depends on if you had a lease, and follow the "due process". I am not a property manager so I can only speak to general knowledge.

Be warned, if your converted garage is was not built to code with a permit and there is any violation, you may also be open up to other liabilities or possibly "red-tagged" by the city for the conversion.

Again, an attorney is strongly advised, as the law sides with consumers/tenants.
Web Reference:  http://www.terrivellios.com
0 votes
Jorge E. Gos…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Thu Jan 7, 2010
Annoyed landlord,

Having a troublesome tenant is not fun. as a Real Estate Broker /property manager and Landlord for almost 30 years, I have had my share of bad tenants.
From your description. My best advice is to get help from an eviction Attorney. Most go smooth however some can be a challenge.. if you need names for eviction attorney's feel free to give me a call. My best advice Screen your Tenants carefully. and use your head instead of your heart. Being a Landlord is a business.

Jorge E. Gosálvez
Serving Clients since 1981
Broker Associate, GRI, SRES | DRE: 00811940
INTERO Real Estate Services
10275 N. De Anza Blvd. | Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 249-3718 Direct | (408) 904-5465 Fax
Jorge@BrokersForLife.com | http://www.BrokersForLife.com
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more