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"Lodger" Rights: Guests, Entry, Services, etc

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"Lodger" Rights: Guests, Entry, Services, etc

Postby mambilla » Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:07 pm


I'm in LA County (but not L.A. itself) in California and I'm trying to find some answers to help with dealing with a difficult landlord. As the subject says, I think I have determined I am a lodger - the landlord/owner lives in the house and I rent a room. I am one of three lodgers, all students at the local university. I am wondering what my rights are in regard to guests, entry, and services (such as refrigerator and heater use).
Our landlord has some very strict rules, some I find absolutely ridiculous. For example,
1) she doesn't allow us to keep our towels in the bathroom, even after just taking a shower, to dry, and she does not share this bathroom.
2) She tried to keep us from using bar soap in the shower because it "makes things harder to clean," even though she doesn't clean that bathroom nor does she pay to have it cleaned (she makes us clean it by schedule).
3) She "desires" the kitchen floor mopped by me every day (at no compensation to rent).
4) She attempted to completely eliminate my use of the refrigerator, even though there was enough room for my things. She told me she would have her boyfriend bring me his 1.5x1.5x1.5 ft MINI-fridge and that she would "like it" if I only used it. She told me that the fridge is for those living in the house (as opposed to the garage), even though at that point one of the lodgers was using his own fridge only. Is this legal?
5) She also made a big deal about my being in the house a lot (not staying in my - potentially illegally converted garage - room), saying that she wanted to be able to be alone with her boyfriend and son (this is in regard to me cooking dinner while they are eating at the table).
6) She does not allow us to use the clothes washer and dryer, because past lodgers' use led to their damage which required professional repairs (I can understand this, though it is a great inconvenience). However, we don't pay for utilities.
7) Most importantly of late is the guest policy: she expressed a very restrictive guest policy on the "lease" and has been getting pushy and irritated at my fellow lodger friend having his girlfriend come over for a few hours during the day (and there is no physicality going on between them whatsoever while here). She expressed on the "lease" that if we were to have guests over we would have to ask her well in advance and then the guest must be over only for a short while (she made a, fairly reasonable, add on to this that no guest will stay later than 8:30 PM) and it must be quite seldom (every day is out of the question). She also made it pretty clear that the possibility for overnight guests is very slim if not non-existent (even if it were my brother visiting from Northern California to check out the university) and that we would have to discuss it when the time came. Is this legal? From what I've read it doesn't seem to be.
8) Something that was of enormous importance last year was that, given that I live in the garage (with an insulated door and weatherproofing superior to the house), the landlord and her son would open the large garage door while I was in here (even when I'm not is concerning given my belongings that are on display for any thief passing by) to gain access to their bikes, or anything they felt they needed to get that is stored in here. This large door opening was ESPECIALLY disconcerting when it was very hot, very cold, or very windy outside (blowing my papers off my desk and blowing leaves and dirt onto the floor) such that it would greatly change and detriment the habitability of the room that functions as my bedroom and the place where I do most of my schoolwork. Should she have the right to open the big garage door, effectively removing about 1/6 of my room when there is a normal sized door on the other side, just for the sake of convenience (and really not that much more convenience if she only went out the kitchen door and not the front)? I should also mention that part of the agreement of my staying in the garage was that she be able to store her bikes in the garage and get them when needed. She and her son have asked almost every time before opening the big garage door, but still, what does one say to such a request that seems so ludicrous? After the first few days of my moving in here, and having the garage door open for the wonderful breeze, she told me she would like it if I used only the small door. Only days later her son was using the big door and when I spoke to her about it she realized her hypocrisy and "said" it was ok for me to open the big door. Of course last year, with no knowledge of tenant/lodger rights, I didn't make any stand on keeping the big door shut fearing eviction. She was kind to me in that she allowed me to move in to the garage because it fit my needs best and the other rooms were full, so I figured if I made a peep she would have no problem removing me from among the tenants/lodgers.

Thank you very much for a prompt response if at all possible,
Things here are really uncertain right now,
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