Property Rights in the People’s Republic of California and Elsewhere: Landlord Edition

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If you’re a landlord in California and your tenant turns into a nightmare the law will not be on your side in kicking them to the curb. Take two recent examples in the news.

A family has been living in fear after renting a room in their house to a woman, who turns out to be a serial squatter. After paying the rent dutifully for a year (in accordance with what most likely is the squatters’ creed) tenant Sara Rogers probably knew she now had the upper hand, thanks to the state. That’s when the nightmare for Carrie and her family began.

Everything was fine for the first year.

But in late 2013, Carrie said Roger’s friends moved in, she got cats, installed an air conditioner and started making a lot of noise at odd hours of the night.

“The screaming, the spanking, the moaning … that would wake the dead and my 5-year-old,” Carry [sic] said.

After confronting Rogers, Carrie found herself slapped with a cease and desist order for “criminal stalking and harassment.” Rogers then had the locks in the house changed and even barricaded herself in for a time by chaining the front door. When Carrie called the police, who thankfully didn’t show up and kill her, they were of no help of course, telling Carrie that she was in trouble because Rogers had an unsecured weapon in a house with a minor.

When Carrie consulted an attorney, one oddly enough who had represented Rogers in the past, he advised her that it would be better to just pay her off rather than go through the legal process, which both parties agreed to. Carrie says in all she has spent $40,000 on the ordeal.

Then there is the case of the nanny who stopped nannying:

A California family is struggling to evict their now-fired live-in nanny—and tenancy laws are on her side.

Marcella and Ralph Bracamonte hired Diane Stretton to care for the couple’s three children in exchange for room and board, but after only a few weeks she ceased her nannying duties and then refused to move out.

The legal experts who spoke with The Daily Beast explained that once a person is living in your home, having them removed immediately is virtually impossible unless they choose to leave voluntarily.

And, of course, this type of thing is by no means exclusive to California. DB goes on to describe similar laws in New York, but the same is true for most states. Bottom line, if you are considering renting your property, you simply must require references and pay to have a proper background check conducted, which could cost in the hundreds of dollars, else you are open to a similar nightmare. Even then, you may not be safe.

1:07 pm on July 5, 2014
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