As landlord, any action required from me once knowing tenant sleep in covered/unheated patio?

Asked by Jerry Zheng, Milpitas, CA Sun Mar 18, 2012

My rental house with three bedrooms (1600 sqft) is rented to a three people family. It is recently found that instead of sleeping in one of the three bedrooms, the son is actually sleep in the covered/unheated patio with space heater, the reason for this is that he likes big space and the patio is around 300 sqft which doesn't count as part of the 1600 sqft. Obviously the patio was never meant to be used as bedroom period. Here is my questions:
1] Could this cause any issue and I am responsible for anything due to this arrangement?
2] As landlord, should I do anything under the circumstance?
3] If this should be concerned and stopped, what base I should use to do so?

Thanks in advance!

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Charles Ruth, , Sacramento, CA
Sun Sep 23, 2012
1) Unlikely. You want to make sure that the rest of the home is inhabitable. No mold, water leaks, holes in the walls, broken windows, etc. You wouldn't want the tenants to claim the only reason they were sleeping there was because of poor conditions in the house. Other than that I would think this behavior is as if kids put up a tenant in the backyard for kicks.

2) You should make sure that the space heater is not an exposed electrical coil. A blanket, or other cloth could catch fire if the unit in knocked over without someone noticing it. You might want to send the tenant a letter in writing to this effect and save it in your file just in case. Also, please double check your homeowner's policy to make sure you have a loss of rents clause just in case they burn the house down. If you haven't already, suggest the tenant purchase tenant insurance. Its usually only about $25/mo. Do a walk though of the home and check all the rooms. Make sure that the unused bedroom is not actually being used in a mater that would be in violation of the lease. You may also want to get in writing from the tenant that they do not have any maintenance concerns and that sleeping in the patio area is not related to a lack of maintenance or attention by the landlord.

I think that is about as thorough as you could be.

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1 vote
Lee, , Sacramento County, CA
Sat Sep 21, 2013
this is a personal family and legal matter- talk to your renters- Is it a minor or young adult- With the winter coming is patio enclosed- what was negotiated in rental agreement
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Mon Mar 19, 2012
You may wish to consult with an attorney who specializes in real estate, especially since you are asking a legal question...
0 votes
James Tan, Agent, elk grove, CA
Mon Mar 19, 2012
I would like to refer to, where you can post questions that pertain to real estate law to lawyers, for free. I am a real estate broker, I also manage properties for my client. Here is my input:
In general, a contract with the tenant should include a "house rules" clause. Typically, these house rules can be modified by landlord at any time as long as it is communicated to tenant. This is one way to control the behaviour of tenant, should landlord feel that it is not appropriate.
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