PropertyProf Blog

Editor: Stephen Clowney
Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Couchsurfing 101

Couchsurfing

Last week, the LA Times ran a short Q&A about how to get rid of a freeloading house guest.  According to the author of the piece:

An adult living in a rental property without paying rent or being party to a rental agreement, oral or written, is consider a "tenant at will." Since the law regards him as a tenant, he cannot be locked out or forcibly removed. Your only legal avenue is to give him a written notice of termination of tenancy. If he doesn't leave voluntarily after receiving written notice, you can file an eviction lawsuit, known as an unlawful detainer, in court. Because he is a tenant at will, you need only give him a 30-day written notice to vacate, rather than the 60-day notice that would be applicable to a traditional month-to-month tenancy of more than a year.

The author certainly knows more about California law than I do, but this strikes me as odd.  Couldn't you consider the ne'er-do-well friend a licensee, rather than a tenant-at-will?  Any Californians care to shed some light on the issue?  I also find the response completely bizarre and inappropriate for dealing with a relationship between friends.  Who would ever sue in this situation without first trying some basic self-help measures?  Turn the cable off.  Empty the fridge.  Invite your smelliest friend to share the couch for few days.  But suing a friend?  That seems like the worst possible solution.         

Steve Clowney

(Pic from WikiCommons)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/property/2010/08/couchsurfing-101.html

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Comments

Steve, I agree on all counts. Don't know anything about California law, but I'd see this as a license scenario, not a tenancy scenario.

Posted by: Ben Barros | Sep 1, 2010 10:46:13 AM

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