Should I let my landlord evict me at any time without notice?
May 19, 2014 1:58 PM   Subscribe

My 12-month lease in Los Angeles finished a few months ago and my landlord now wants to put the month-to-month agreement in writing, which is fine with me. She drew up an agreement containing the following: "Owner can evict tenant at any given time without notice." Should I agree to this?

I have a generally good relationship with my landlord (I live in her guesthouse) so I'm not really worried about eviction, but I want to be protected. As I understand it the law entitles me to three days' notice after which the landlord can start the eviction process. It sounds to me like this language is asking me to give up both the three days' notice and my right to the eviction process. Should I push back on this language and do you have any suggestions as to how to phrase this in a non-confrontational way?
posted by acidic to Law & Government (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is not legal advice.

You should absolutely push back. Can you imagine the panic you'd be in having to get all your things out of your house with no notice? Even only 3 days notice?

I would push hard for 30 days. It's perfectly reasonable and standard.

If you want to soften it you can tell her that while you will do your best to work with her if she needs you out in less than 30 days, your job, life etc don't allow you to commit to moving out with no notice. Having to move out with no notice would almost certainly require you to hire movers the day of at great expense, take time off work which your job may not allow, pay for storage and get a hotel until you can find a new place to live. This would be hugely disruptive to your life and prohibitively expensive.
posted by whoaali at 2:08 PM on May 19, 2014 [9 favorites]

I'm not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice. Personally, I'd be surprised if such a provision were legal; if it were, all landlords would require potential tenants to agree to give up their notice rights under law (which are common). Whether the inclusion of an illegal term renders the whole agreement null and void is a question I don't have a view on, though the proposed agreement may have a provision stating that if any term is illegal, it should be read out of the contract (a "savings clause"). What you're proposing suggests to me that this is a small-timer who doesn't know the law, though, and she may not have included a savings clause (unless it was in the Legal Zoom form she's trying to work from, or something).

If I were you, I'd reach out to a tenants rights group. Here's one. Get their advice.

Again, I'm not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice to you.

Good luck.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:10 PM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

It looks like the 3 day notice of eviction is for a list of pretty specific violations. My question would be is if your landlord is really trying to eliminate the 30 or 60 day notice requirement. That is the notice she can give basically at any time for no reason and force you to move.

I suspect her lease agreement can't actually eliminate either notice requirement, but you'd have to ask a lawyer.
posted by sevenless at 2:10 PM on May 19, 2014

Is there any benefit in letting her include that language in your new lease? Unless you're getting something really, really, really good in return, I'd push back.

A rental agreement is a business contract, and you've got a 50% say here. It is very reasonable for you to ask her to explain her thinking, then calmly and respectfully say that you'd be more comfortable with your* legally entitled three days' (minimum!) notice.

*You have rights! She is depending on you, the tenant, for what I assume is a sizeable revenue stream! Ask for what you need.
posted by magdalemon at 2:11 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I do not believe that what she's proposing is legal, or that it even means what she thinks it means.

Why don't you counter-offer a boilerplate CA month-to-month lease agreement.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:15 PM on May 19, 2014 [9 favorites]

I don't think it's legal. There are many states that explicitly say landlords cannot contractually obligate tenants to give up their legal rights. Check any tenants' rights organizations for your city and state.
posted by Anonymous at 2:17 PM on May 19, 2014

experienced cal l-t counsel here...

on a month-to-month, the landlord needs to serve you with a 30-day notice to terminate the tenancy (in non-rent-controlled jurisdictions). if you don't pay rent, it's a 3-day notice. this is just the requisite preliminary to suing you for unlawful detainer (eviction), which can be a long, drawn-out process even if i wasn't tenant's counsel.

it's illegal to just toss you out on the street with no notice or due process at all. your local tenant's rights organization can explain more.
posted by bruce at 2:22 PM on May 19, 2014 [12 favorites]

IANAL, but if her contract contains provisions that are against the law, they won't hold up. Contact your local tenant's union for local details.
posted by quince at 2:23 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: bruce, isn't it 60 days notice for the landlord, given that I have been there for more than a year, and assuming they are not selling the house? They seem to think that the law is different because they live on the property too, but we're under different roofs, so the "lodger" laws don't apply here, do they?
posted by acidic at 2:25 PM on May 19, 2014

California Tenants Rights Handbook [PDF]

You can also call the CA Dept. of Consumer Affairs. They are very helpful.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:28 PM on May 19, 2014

Some rental units in Los Angeles are rent-controlled. You can call the LA Housing Department and tell them your address, they will tell you if your unit is rent-controlled. I think they will also give you advice on your rights. Unfortunately, the website is currently down, but hopefully it will come up soon.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:27 PM on May 19, 2014

In a lot of areas it doesn't matter if it says this in there, she couldn't enforce it. She could also put "if you give notice, after that i can legally shoot you as an intruder" and it would be meaningless.

what bruce says is true, but it's also true that she can put any zany language she wants in there and the parts that violate the baseline law are just automatically invalid.
posted by emptythought at 4:24 PM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have no idea about CA law but no, there is no way in hell you should agree to this. One argument with your landlord about anything and they could be saying "Okay you're eveicted get out tomorrow."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:55 AM on May 22, 2014

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