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Tenant rights

Fairfield, CA |

Our lease is up July 1 st. The owners told us via text three weeks ago that they are selling the house and remodeling started the following week. Owners replaced the kitchen counters last weekend , had the outside of the house painted within four days and a realtor agent called today to ask to show the house this evening. The listing agent asked today, via text to have an open house this weekend. Everything is happening so fast and we have three more weeks before our lease is up.
My question : Do the owners have to notify us in writing that they are selling the house before we have to agree to an open house? If so and they have not what recourse do we have?

Attorney Answers 4


Well the owners' boorish behavior indicates to me they've done everything they can to marginalize the remainder of your days in that property.

I think you can request that they abate the rent for the entire month of June if they wish to keep intruding on you, forcing strangers into your leasehold and interfering with your daily routine.

Each lease has within it an implied condition of quiet use and enjoyment; and every landlord has an obligation of good faith and fair dealing when performing the terms of the lease.

Intruding on your solitude, forcing improvements and workers into your leasehold, and disturbing the one place in the world you retreat to to get away from the world qualifies for abatement of the entire month of June.

I would suggest you pack up, leave and sue them for invading your privacy and solitude.

This is a public forum. Any questions or answers published here should not be construed as the giving or receiving of legal advice or the formation of any attorney-client relationship. You should consult with a competent attorney in the jurisdiction where your legal issues are pending and get good, solid legal advice. This being a public forum, those answers you do read are merely given for informational purposes only.

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Before running away and suing the landlord, take a step back and consider the ramifications of that act. First, it's June, you have only three weeks remaining in the house. You should probably expend your energy finding a new, comfortable home. Second, most, if not all, of the actions by your landlord are probably legal, with one exception.

Landlords have a right, usually with 24 hours notice, to enter the property (with permission) to do work. A court would likely agree that the work done thus far is reasonable. However, notice must be given, and typically the tenant can refuse if the timing and proposed actions are not convenient. But the tenant must be reasonable as well.

The owner probably does not need to give you a written notice of sale. It seems you have actual notice already. But you do not have to alter your life unreasonably, it is your leasehold until the end of the month. A more reasonable approach is to speak with the realtor and come to an understanding about proper times. Short notice for a day-long open house is probably not reasonable. Surely they want to make sure you're happy and are willing to make the home look presentable? Working with you, and you with them, would be a far more reasonable approach.

Bottom line - you will have to leave the house, but you are still the leaseholders. Express your concerns and come to a reasonable agreement.

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Dealing with landlords can be a tricky situation. I would contact the landlord and let them know that you are still the tenants and have a right to quiet enjoyment of the property until your lease ends. Landlords must give notice before they enter a property to do repairs or maintenance, usually 24 hours.

The landlord has a right to show the unit, usually during normal business hours but must give at least 24 hours notice. I don't think holding an open house is considered reasonable. That means people will be in your house for the full weekend. It may be OK to allow them to have an open house for a few hours, but nothing more.

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You should review Civil Code section 1954(d)(1):

"If the purpose of the entry is to exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, the notice may be given orally, in person or by telephone, if the landlord or his or her agent has notified the tenant in writing within 120 days of the oral notice that the property is for sale and that the landlord or agent may contact the tenant orally for the purpose described above. Twenty-four hours is presumed reasonable notice in the absence of evidence to the contrary. The notice shall include the date, approximate time, and purpose of the entry. At the time of entry, the landlord or agent shall leave written evidence of the entry inside the unit."

The information provided herein (i.e. answers and/or recommendations to questions posted on this forum) is for general purposes only. The posting of this information by G. Michael Brelje, Esq. and the viewing of any posted information is not meant to create an attorney-client relationship and should not be construed as legal advice. If the viewer desires specific legal advice then the viewer is advised to consult with a lawyer in the appropriate jurisdiction and share the specific facts, supporting documents and evidence unique to viewer’s situation.

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G. Michael Brelje

G. Michael Brelje


I apologize, subsection (d)(2), not (d)(1).

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