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I would like to know what my legal rights are and is this legal??

Perris, CA |

The house that i have been renting a room in since feb. 2012 went up for public auction and was bought by a realtor company in June 2012. Since then the new owners have stopped bye and expressed that they would like for us to stay in the home and they would honor our rent for 3 months and then negotiate new terms. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the home. The septic tank needs to be emptied and was expressed to the owner from the very first meeting Now the sewage is coming up into the bathtub. He came out last week and i filled out the rental agreement, and he is now wanting to charge $35.00 per adult filing fees. He claims he can come change the locks and have removed from the property.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. It is not clear what "filing fees" are at issue here. A rental agreement need not be filed anyplace, it is simply a contract between a renter and landlord that is binding upon the parties when it is signed. Look to the terms of the agreement you signed to see what may or may not be charged, that document defines your contractual relationship. If a renter is fully performing on its duties to a landlord, the landlord may not change the locks and interfere with the renter's right of possession. You may want to talk to a local attorney to fully evaluate your options. Good luck.

    I have been licensed to practice in the State of Oregon since 1990. I am not offering legal advice regarding your question, only general information regarding the law. You are not my client nor am I your attorney unless we sign a retainer agreement.


  2. I don't know what "filing fees" your landlord wants to charge you for, but in a rental situation there shouldn't be any, unless there is a local ordinance in Perris that I'm not aware of. In addition, the rental agreement must spell out any fees or costs the landlord intends for you to pay. If this filing fee isn't in the lease (rental agreement), then he can't charge it. And, no, he can't throw you out and change the locks if you refuse to pay it. That is called forcible eviction and is strictly forbidden. If the new lease imposes conditions you can't agree with, and you can't come to a compromise with the landlord, he is entitled to ask you to move out, but if you refuse, he has to comply with the law and take the appropriate steps to evict you. As for the septic tank, you could pay to have it pumped and deduct the cost from your rent, but make sure you have notified him in writing and have given him a chance to take care of it. Under the circumstances, with this being a health hazard, I wouldn't give him more than 48 hours to get the tank pumped before doing it yourself. It shouldn't cost more than $400 or so.


  3. I agree with my colleagues.

    It is unclear what you mean by "filing fees". Is it some type of administrative fee?

    The new owner cannot just and change the locks and throw you out. That would not be legal.

    The landlord has a legal duty to maintain the septic tank.

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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