Do they have any legal rights to avoid eviction? What must I do to get them out?

Asked by tjbaybkat, Oakland, CA Sun Nov 18, 2012

I own a home in Oakland, CA. In trying to be a good samaritan, I allowed a family of five to move in to one of my bedrooms. They have now worn out their welcome in several ways such as causing damage to my property. I have given them a verbal 30 day notice.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Leopold A Ro…, , San Francisco, CA
Sun Nov 18, 2012
In general, roommates do not have the same legal rights (including notices to vacate) as tenants.

That said, I assume that children are involved. So I don't expect the Alameda County Sheriff to support a lockout.

I think you have no choice but to consult legal counsel.

Real Estate Broker 00849905
400 Montgomery 505
San Francisco CA 94104
Office: 415.781.3000
2 votes
Pat & Steve…, Agent, Westlake, OH
Sun Nov 18, 2012
You have an unusual problem. I suggest that you consult with an attorney who handles residential matters, including landlord -tenant issues.
1 vote
Helen Yuen, Agent, Oakland Ca 94605, CA
Sun Nov 18, 2012
Hello: Was there a written contract?
Was there a security deposit to cover damages?
Instructions for eviction -
Document the damage. Keep a camera with you whenever you visit your properties. If anything is broken or seriously out of order, take a photograph and put it in the tenant's folder. Make sure the date and extent of the problem are noted.

Give the tenant a written warning to fix the damage or vacate. If the damage continues, ask the tenant to leave.

Give a 30-day written notice if the lease is month-to-month. You can issue a 30-day written notice for just about any cause. For any other breach of the lease, such as repeated property damage, you may issue a 10-day written notice to move. This timeline varies by state.

File an eviction lawsuit against the tenant if the tenant refuses to move. During the eviction trial, the judge will hear both sides. You must present solid evidence of the damage and its frequency. A judge determining that eviction is warranted will issue the tenant a move date and an amount to pay you, which may include court costs. If the judge finds no reason to evict the tenant, the judge will cancel the eviction and possibly have you pay the tenant’s court costs. This is why you must have solid proof that the tenant is causing enough damage to warrant immediate eviction.

Lawyer Referral Service
(248) 338-2100

What is the Lawyer Referral Service?

The Oakland County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service provides a vital service to the community by providing referrals to residents who may not otherwise know where to locate a lawyer. With over 180 attorneys listed by our service, we provide referrals in over 100 areas of law. Referrals are provided on a rotational basis by area of legal expertise and by geographical location.
1 vote
Wayne Odenbr…, Agent, Mountain Lakes, NJ
Sun Nov 18, 2012
No good deed goes unpunished.
I am a Realtor and a Landlord as well, so I feel your pain.

I am in NJ and the Tenant seems to had way nore rights than we do.
Your state has differant laws.

For CA, see
1 vote
, ,
Fri Nov 23, 2012
Hi TJ:
Some answer before they read. It seems you live in your home, and have allowed a family of five to
share your home (with them living in one of your bedrooms as roomates). You do not even say if you are charing them any rent, let alone fair market value? You did not say if there is any rental agreement, either verbal or written.

There is information on this subject available online from local attorneys who are highly qualified.
Radio shows have covered similar situations. It would help you to do that research quickly.

You may not need to go through any legal process, and if you do, it will be different from a standard
landlord/tenant eviction dispute, because of the roomate relationship v. a standard tenancy.

It's important that you learn the law that applies to your case in Oakland. It doesn't matter what the
law is in Berkeley or S.F.. If the law is on your side, then you learn how to exercise it. If you feel
vulnerable, with your home being held hostage by this family of invited guests, it may even be less
expensive to pay them to go away? But you should not signal that to them in advance, or they may
simply hold out for more.

Getting the right legal advise is always important, unfortunately, too many of us don't get it in advance, and then end up wishing we had after it's too late.

BTW: Being a good Samaritan is something to be proud of, and not something to be scoffed at or
abused. Before you do the next favor, know this:

a) What the law says about what you are wanting to doing.
Oakland says it's illegal to house more than 2-3 people in one bedroom.

b) No matter how well deserving, no matter how nice the family is, if you haven't seen how
they lived in their previous residence (or car?), you may not enjoy them as house guests!

This is not legal advise.
0 votes
Matthew Goul…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sun Nov 18, 2012
Seek legal advice, it will be money well spent.
0 votes
Allan Erps, Agent, Pearl River, NY
Sun Nov 18, 2012
Attorney may not be necessary if you have proof and address the proper paperwork through the judicial system.
0 votes
Jerry Guay, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sun Nov 18, 2012
If you do not have a written rental agreement, you can give them a 30-day notice to vacate. If they fail to vacate after 30 days you need to contact an attorney to open eviction. I have a very good referral for that in the event it comes to this.
0 votes
This is incorrect! The 30 day notice, etc., is for tenants and people who rent a room in your house are room mates, much easier to gt rid of. But I agree with most of this advice, get an attorney, especially with children involved.
Flag Sun Nov 25, 2012
Astrid Lacit…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sun Nov 18, 2012
Time to call an attorney. By the way, these folks are actually roommates if you are continuing to live on the premises. Rules are different for roommates than for tenants.

Astrid Lacitis
Keynote Properties
415 860 0765
0 votes
Wayne Odenbr…, Agent, Mountain Lakes, NJ
Sun Nov 18, 2012
Helen gives great advice for all Landlords, not only in CA, and not only landlords with problems!
0 votes
Honesty Sells, , Spokane Valley, WA
Sun Nov 18, 2012
They will have legal rights to help them avoid immediate eviction.

Your best move at this point is to get legal advice sooner rather than later.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more