Special Situations in Living Arrangements

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Hotels and Motels

Residents in a hotel or motel do not have the rights of a tenant in any of the following situations: 

  • They live in a hotel, motel, residence club, or other lodging facility for 30 days or less, and their occupancy is subject to the state's hotel occupancy tax.
  • They live in a hotel, motel, residence club, or other lodging facility for more than 30 days, but have not paid all room and related charges owing by the 30th day. 
  • They live in a hotel or motel to which the manager has a right of access and control, and all of the following is true:

    • The hotel or motel allows occupancy for periods of fewer than seven days.
    • All of the following services are provided for all residents:
      • a fireproof safe for residents' use;
      • a central telephone service;
      • maid, mail, and room service; and
      • food service provided by a food establishment that is on or next to the hotel or motel grounds and that is operated in conjunction with the hotel or motel.

If a person lives in a unit described above, legally he or she is not a tenant - legally, he or she is a guest. Therefore, he or she does not have the same rights as a tenant.  For example, the proprietor of a hotel can lock out a guest who doesn't pay his or her room charges on time, while a landlord would have to begin formal eviction proceedings to evict a nonpaying tenant.

Residential Hotels

A residential hotel is any building that contains six or more guest rooms or efficiency units which are designed, used, rented or occupied for sleeping purposes by guests, and which is the primary residence of these guests.

People do have the legal rights of tenants if they are guests in a residential hotel that is their primary residence. It is unlawful for the proprietor of a residential hotel to require a guest to move or to check out and re-register before the guest has lived there for 30 days, if the proprietor's purpose is to prevent the guest from gaining the legal rights of a tenant.

Single lodger in a private residence

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.

However, in the case of a single lodger in a house where there are no other lodgers, the owner can evict the lodger without using formal eviction proceedings. The owner can give the lodger written notice that the lodger cannot continue to use the room. The length of the notice must be the same as the amount of time between rent payments (for example, 30 days). When the owner has given the lodger proper notice and the time has expired, the lodger has no further right to remain in the owner's house and may be removed as a trespasser.

Transitional housing

Some tenants are residents of "transitional housing," which provides housing to formerly homeless persons for periods of 30 days to 24 months. Special rules cover the behavior of residents in, and eviction of residents from, transitional housing.

Mobile home parks and recreational vehicle parks

Special rules apply to mobile homes and recreational vehicle parks and are not discussed here. (see the Recreational Vehicle Park Occupancy Law - California Civil Code, Section 799.20 - 799.32) Opens new window