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Must my church give me a 30-day notice to vacate the room they have let me stay in for the last month? Or only a 3-day? Or?

Los Angeles, CA |

My church let me stay in a little unused room for a month. I thought I was going to be out in 2 or 4 weeks, but my next place evaporated (because I would not break the church rules as my "friend" expected. He wanted "very personal favors".) I am homeless & do not have a place to go but I do have a good job beginning the day after they want me to move. I have not paid any rent, but I have received 3 pieces of mail at the church address. I have another friend who may let me stay at his home, but that won't be for a week or two. The Board of Trustees is saying it's an insurance issue, but I think there is some political/personal motivation involved. I had a great credit rating before I lost my home, so it's not like I am a long-term street person. Nice lady of 59 years.)

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    Communication with the Church is always a good idea. Since you never paid rent, that does become AN issue, and as the other attorneys said, they "probably" cannot forcibly remove you in less than 30-45 days. There are other rules that COULD apply including classifying you as a "short-term" boarder (like a boarding house) and, since you don't state whether or not you were there for over 30 days, regardless, they would probably have to provide you with just a 3-day notice followed by an unlawful detainer then, you would either "answer" that within 5 days and then attend a trial 20 or more days later OR default and lose on a default and then, it would be "possible" that you could be "removed" by a Sheriff within 15-30 days after that.

    As the attorneys said, you should try to work it out with the church folks first then consider the landlord-tenant mediation programs that some counties and cities provide, if available. Finally, you could contact some services for folks in your situation that provide FREE legal services.

    This is NOT legal advice rather, it is opinion only based upon the facts as stated. There is no way to know the outcome of any judicial matter at this stage.


  2. Well they can't forcibly evict you, so regardless of the notice they give you, it will take them at least 30 days to effect an unlawful detainer eviction, probably more like 40. So, if you are real determined to stay, you probably can. However, you and the good church folks should sit down and work things out. You don't want your church to have to sue you to get you to leave. You won't be very popular around there if they have to do that.


  3. I agree with Attorney Boyer. The church can't use "self help" to force you out. Regardless of whether they use a 3-day notice or a 30 day notice, it will take an unlawful detainer lawsuit and approximately 30 to 45 days before the sheriff can remove you from the premises. Therefore, I think if you can communicate to the Board that you will be out in a week or two, everything should be fine.

    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, consult with your own attorney.

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