Eviction: Special Situations

There are several special situations in eviction cases where tenants may have more rights, or where special rules may apply:

Landlords may be able to evict a tenant if the tenant fails to pay rent on time, or breaks the lease or damages the property, In most cities, the landlord can also evict the tenant:

  • If the tenant stays after the lease is up, or
  • If the landlord cancels the rental agreement by giving proper notice.

If your city has rent control, these last 2 reasons may not be good enough to evict a tenant. Most rental units in California are not rent-controlled. But if the unit is in a city with rent control, there usually are more protections in place for tenants that you need to know.  The best way to find out if rent control applies to a unit is to check with the local city or county government, planning and zoning department, or with the local legal aid, self-help center, or law library.

If there is a foreclosure on the rental unit, the new owner must honor the existing lease. BUT in a month-to-month tenancy or when the people occupying the property are the owners who are being foreclosed on, the new owner can evict the tenants or former owners. In these cases, the new owner may either (1) offer the existing tenants a new lease or rental agreement or (2) begin eviction proceedings. If the new owner chooses to evict existing tenants, the new owner must give tenants at least 90 days' notice before starting eviction proceedings, unless the tenants are the former owners, in which case a 3-day notice is required.

Tenants in some California cities may still have a right to stay in their buildings. Cities with eviction or rent control laws may prohibit new owners from using foreclosure as a reason for evicting tenants. Contact your local city or county government office to find out if you live in a rent-controlled area. Or talk to your self-help center, or a lawyer for help.

There are other rights that tenants and occupants have in eviction cases done after a foreclosure. If an occupant is not named in the complaint for the eviction, he or she may be able to challenge the eviction at any time during the case or even after the judgment for eviction is made.

Click to find out more about a tenant's rights during a foreclosure and to find help.

If the tenant works for the landlord and lives on the property without paying rent as a condition of employment, the landlord can file an unlawful detainer if the tenant no longer works for the landlord. It does not matter if the tenant quits or is laid off.

If the tenant lives in a residential hotel that has 6 or more rooms for 30 days or more and the hotel is the tenant's primary residence, the tenant has the same legal rights as a regular tenant. The manager is not allowed to make the tenant check out and reregister to prevent him or her from gaining the legal rights of a tenant.

There are special rules for tenants in mobile homes and RV parks.

For more information read mobile home tenants.

For more information read RV park tenants.

There are special eviction rules for tenants who live in tax credit units. The landlord must give the tenant an explanation for ending the landlord-tenant arrangement, and he or she must have a good reason ("just cause") for eviction. To find out if the unit is a credit unit, look for the property at the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee website.

Find Help for Special Situations in Eviction

If you think you may fit one of these situations, talk to a lawyer or a legal aid office.

For tenants in a property in foreclosure
Tenants may also call the Tenant Foreclosure Hotline at 1-888-495-8020. And tenants can also get more information about their rights and find resources at Tenants Together's Law & Resources. For more details on the laws protecting tenants in foreclosures, read the Reforms for American Homeowners and Consumers.

© 2017 Judicial Council of California