renting rooms in your own house
June 24, 2005 10:35 PM   Subscribe

When you own a house and live in it but rent some of the rooms out to other people, is the landlord/tenant situation different than it is for renting out an entire property? Obviously, in the latter case you can't be evicted from your apartment for not doing the dishes. But what about if you live in the same house as the person who owns it? How about rent control? I'm in the Bay Area, CA.
posted by scarabic to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have a friend who swears by the Tenant's Union for this kind of information, or you could try the Housing Rights Committee, both based in SF. I believe that laws tend to be city-based and not county-based so they may not be as helpful for the East Bay, though they'd definitely be able to tell you who to contact there.
posted by cali at 11:27 PM on June 24, 2005

This may be totally inapplicable in your jurisdiction, but...

In Ontario it is a provincial matter, and it depends on the extent to which the home is shared between landlord and tenant(s). If certain parts of the dwelling that are the landlord's are also used by the tenants (e.g. the kitchen), then most of the protections afforded to tenants, especially relating to eviction, do not apply. The idea is to establish when the tenants are the main occupants of a distinct rental unit, as opposed to mere boarders in a landlord's own home.

IANAL, though.
posted by onshi at 11:49 PM on June 24, 2005

This is the exact situation in the house where I live. We own the house, and have friends who are also our roommates (or tenants, if you prefer). We used to have three tenants, and now we are down to one.

All our research (granted, I'm on the other coast from you) is that very few of the standard rules apply. Basically, if we had anyone sign a lease (which we don't) then we would all be bound by the provisions of that lease, but otherwise (because all parts of the house are shared except the bedrooms) landlord/tenant law doesn't really apply to us. We've even gotten tax advise that indicates our tax status is not as "rental property landlords" but rather that we don't have to declare the income because its not income its "shared living expenses" (may not apply to you, obviously).

We have had to evict people in the past, and, while not fun (since we only rent to people we already know well, we don't advertise) it was not difficult ... although since we are basically ethical people we've tried to do the right thing, give 60 days notice, etc.

I'm not clear from your question if you're the home owner or the renter, that would be helpful in providing more information.
posted by anastasiav at 7:01 AM on June 25, 2005

From the Berkeley Rental Stabilization site:

"Completely Exempt
Rental units where the tenant shares kitchen or bath facilities with an owner of record who holds at least a 50 percent interest and maintains his or her principal residence there."
There is a procedure for determining your unit's status by contacting the Rent Board.

However, from the California Dept. of Consumer Affairs:

"A lodger is a person who lives in a
room in a house where the owner lives.
The owner can enter all areas occupied by
the lodger and has overall control of the
house. Most lodgers have the same rights
as tenants." Civil Code 1940(a). This seems to refer to 30 / 60 day notices and such.

I have no expertise other that having been a landlord in San Francisco.
posted by namret at 11:12 AM on June 25, 2005

Response by poster: Good answers and resources, thanks!
posted by scarabic at 3:32 PM on June 25, 2005

« Older I know I shouldn't have dropped out in sixth grade   |   Colonial radio Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.