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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

Posted

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.

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Asker

Posted

Sorry I did not make myself entirely clear. I have been in this little room for over a month now. Time goes by fast when you are trying to handle all the stuff that goes with losing a home and needing more money after a lifetime of self-employment in party entertainment.

Scott Lee Broffman

Scott Lee Broffman

Posted

Again: regardless of what notice they give you, you should be looking for a new place and talking with the church folks IF POSSIBLE. If they give you a 3 day notice, they COULD file an unlawful detainer on the 4th day thereafter then, you have 5 days to answer etc. I would think that the church, being such a terrific organization, after all, would be willing to allow you at least 30 days to get your affairs in order. From my experience, you really don't want to live in a place where you are not comfortable and there is the apparent friction that exists. Stressful living is very bad.....good luck.

Asker

Posted

As I have been on my own since the age of 21 which has included two homes and only two apartments, I am looking forward to living in a place where I call most of the shots. I don't even have a shower where I am staying now, and making sure the bathroom is pristine after each time I wash up is definitely a chore! And tip-toeing around is also a new experience for me. I am talking to two friends right now as far as being able to move ASAP. And as soon as I get a paycheck or two, a whole new world of living situations will open for me! Thank you for your responses!

Posted

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.

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Posted

Thank you sooo much! I don't want to cause trouble, but I also think it's a real good thing to NOT MOVE right when I'm starting a real good job after being self-employed for 20 years. And I'm generally loved by the congregation at large. I was even nominated and elected by this congregation a few years ago to the position of Chair of the Church Council. But some people did not like that. And then things happened. And not just to me but to two other Chairs! I'm trying to be the best person I can be, but it's not easy in this economy. Thank you once again for your quick reply. I am almost crying with relief. Thank you so much! (Hopefully I'll have a decent paycheck within 2 weeks and can move out before 30 days.)

Posted

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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Posted

I am hoping that the people on the Board of Trustees and the pastor are willing and able to communicate with me. There have been significant problems in this area for years now, and apparently not just with me. I'm just the latest and greatest "problem". I'm hoping my 4pm meeting today provides a workable solution for all parties concerned. It would also be great if it woukld not involve legal proceedings!

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