Legal Hotline Spotlight

Q: I have a tenant who requested that his girlfriend be temporarily added to his lease as an authorized occupant for a short period of time (about two months). The tenant has since signed a lease renewal without his girlfriend listed as an authorized occupant. The new lease is now in effect, but his girlfriend is still living in the unit. I spoke to the tenant and gave a new deadline for the girlfriend to leave, but she is refusing. How should I proceed? 

A: While the unauthorized occupant (in this case, tenant’s girlfriend) is the party you are seeking to have removed from the unit, it is actually the tenant, not the girlfriend, who is in breach of the lease. As the girlfriend is not a party to the lease, she has not breached it (nor can she). The tenant, however, has allowed an unauthorized occupant to live in the unit in violation of the lease.  The proper procedure, therefore, is to serve a 21-30 notice on the tenant for a remediable violation. If the tenant does not remedy in the requisite timeframe, then the next step is to begin unlawful detainer proceedings against the tenant.  

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