Homeowner’s Rights When Removing a Lodger

Recently, Schorr Law’s lead attorney Zachary Schorr was asked to appear on ABC’s Nightline to speak about a recent news story involving a live-in nanny who, upon being fired, refused to vacate the room that she had been allowed to live in as part of her employment.  Zachary Schorr’s appearance on Nightline can be viewed at   In that story, the live-in nanny held the position that she was entitled to the right’s of a tenant and, therefore, the homeowners would have to go through formal eviction procedures to get her out of their home.    The story raised some interesting issues regarding some of the dangers that homeowners risk by allowing third parties prolonged access to their property.

Interestingly, in some instances, homeowners who allow someone to occupy a single room in their homes should find it easier to remove their tenants than the typical landlord.   Where a homeowner allows a single “lodger” access to a dwelling unit, the homeowner can remove the lodger without having to go through formal eviction proceedings.  Under Civil Code § 1946.5, a “lodger” is defined as a person contracting with a homeowner for a room within a dwelling unit that is personally occupied by the homeowner. (Civ. C. § 1946.5.) In order to classify a guest/tenant as a lodger, the homeowner must retain access to all areas of the dwelling unit and have overall control of the dwelling unit. (Id.)

In order to remove the lodger, the homeowner must give the lodger a written termination notice.  Typically, the homeowner must provide notice that is at least as long as the days between rent payments, not exceeding 30 days. (Civ. C. §§ 1946, 1946.5.) Once the notice period expires, the homeowner can then treat the lodger as a trespasser and have the lodger removed accordingly.  (Civ. C. § 1946.5; See Penal C. § 602.3.)

The attorneys at Schorr Law, APC have experience dealing with various kinds of disputes involving California real estate property.  For more information or to schedule a consultation regarding your property dispute, please contact us at (310) 954-1877 or