but my chickens actually *improve* the quality of the house's garden and cats are good for sanity
September 9, 2010 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Need help finding relevant California Tenant law information.

I have been living at a house with no lease. The house is owned by a lady with Alzheimer's and our landlords are effectively her two sons. We send the rent checks to her bank account each month.

We have been living month-to-month. One of the housemates has been living here for two years, I moved in in March, and two other folks moved in at the start of the month. One of the sons showed up a couple of days ago with a lease for us to sign and mail back to him, along with a $100 increase in rent (divided by four housemates; the first increase in 4 years). Cats and dogs have lived here in the past (it has been rented out for at least 20 years). We have three chickens, two cats, and a snake. Presumably he must not have noticed, because one of the terms of the lease is "no pets."

This is the problem. They're decent (but typically absentee) landlords, we're decent tenants who keep the place in much better shape than we found it, and I believe that they're just trying to be responsible landlords and sons by creating a lease. I don't think they actually care about pets as long as we're good tenants. I'm worried about telling them about the pets because I don't want to cause trouble/worry where none exists, and I will not sign the part of the lease saying no pets when we have pets.

All available options as far as I see them:
* tell them we have pets
*don't tell them we have pets and sign the lease
*sign and send back a self-edited version of the lease
*don't tell them we have pets and don't sign that page of the lease
*find out if there is some sort of tenant's rights for pre-existing pets, since these pets were here before we heard about the written lease.

My question is what California tenant law has to say about my situation. If there are free services that I could call to find this out, those numbers would be great to have. My searches are only turning up advice pages that are really just web pages for expensive lawyers. I want to do the right thing, I want us to keep our pets, and I believe that there is an answer that keeps us and our landlords on good and honest terms. Help me find it!
posted by aniola to Law & Government (8 answers total)
Tenants Legal Center is my go to site for this. It's main focus is San Diego renters laws, but many of the laws discussed are state laws and are applicable across the state.
posted by ShootTheMoon at 2:47 PM on September 9, 2010

Response by poster: Davis, CA, 95616
posted by aniola at 2:50 PM on September 9, 2010

Response by poster: I read through that last link and didn't see what I was looking for.
posted by aniola at 2:58 PM on September 9, 2010

Response by poster: I'll try calling that City of Davis link and see what they have to say. Thanks!
posted by aniola at 2:59 PM on September 9, 2010

Response by poster: The lady said that since it was just a month-to-month lease, they can change the terms of living here. So basically, we have to talk to the landlords. Yippee. Thanks kindly for the links.
posted by aniola at 3:12 PM on September 9, 2010

Best answer: Relevant to chickens in the city of Davis.
posted by sageleaf at 3:20 PM on September 9, 2010

Response by poster: I ended up calling the landlord and talking to him, and he said that he didn't care as long as they didn't ruin the curtains or the carpet.
posted by aniola at 6:40 PM on March 11, 2011

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