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  • Daniel Rodriguez

Can a Tenant Evict Another Tenant Without the Landlord’s Permission in California?

Some of the worst issues for landlords and property management companies are managing disputes between tenants and their neighbors, or even between roommates in the same unit. While this seems like the job of a camp counselor or a dorm room RA, it often does become a legal issue that can bog-down your apartment building or commercial property operations. Our Roseville business lawyers and landlord-tenant lawyers at the NewPoint Law Group, LLP can help you understand your responsibilities as a landlord, your legal requirements for running your business, and when you need to be involved in these kinds of issues.

Evicting a Tenant on Behalf of Another Tenant

As the landlord, you control the power to evict a tenant. The terms of your relationship between the tenant and the landlord are often heavily influenced by the specific terms of their lease, but California also has robust landlord-tenant laws that govern your options and responsibilities.

California Eviction Notice

In general, California law allows landlords to evict tenants with at 30- or 60-day notice. With this, a tenant can be removed from their housing or commercial rental for any lawful reason. Eviction based on discrimination and certain other grounds is not allowed. The landlord is not required to state a reason for eviction, but usually, good business practices dictate being clear and open with your tenants, and abiding by promises made in the lease.

In some situations, you may need to give some “just cause” for eviction. This is required for many rent-controlled cities and towns, and public housing. This means it is important not only to understand California’s requirements, but also your local laws.

California Eviction Grounds

In some cases, you may give the tenant 3-day notice instead. This is only allowed when the tenant did something wrong, including:

  1. Failure to pay rent;

  2. Lease or rental agreement violations;

  3. Damage to the rental property;

  4. Interference with other tenants;

  5. Domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking against another tenant;

  6. Using the property for an unlawful purpose;

  7. Dealing drugs or manufacturing drugs on the premises;

  8. Running dog fights or cock fights on the premises; or

  9. Committing weapons crimes on the premises;

If any of these occur, you have the right to evict the tenant more quickly.

Tenant Eviction in CA

Many of these issues deal with issues between tenants and others on the property, and it may become your responsibility to step in. If a tenant damages rental property, it often amounts to the tort of “waste,” and can interfere with others’ access or enjoyment of the property. Directly interfering with other tenants may also amount to “nuisance,” which limits the other tenants’ enjoyment or use of the property. Additionally, violent crimes, weapons offenses, drug crimes, and illegal animal fights draw potential harm and crime problems to the property. If another tenant reports these kinds of activities, you may be able to evict the offending tenant to benefit yourself and the other residents of the property.

Can Tenants Evict Each Other?

Some issues may bother tenants, but may not be the landlord’s business, or may not be serious enough to merit official intervention. In these cases, can tenants work the issues out themselves? Can a tenant evict another tenant?

In general, only the landlord has the power to evict a tenant. It would be quite unfair if a neighbor could revoke another’s rental. Because other tenants are not part of the contract between the landlord and the offending tenant, there is nothing neighbors can usually do. However, since neighbors may be affected by crime, nuisance, waste, and other issues listed above, tenants can report each other’s activities to the landlord. The landlord may then evict a tenant on behalf of the harmed tenant and other neighbors.

Tenants may also evict another tenant if they are a landlord, too. In most cases, the property owner is the landlord and rents the property to the tenant. In some cases, the tenant may have their own tenant – known as a “subtenant.” Subtenants enter into a sublease with the tenant, who acts as the subtenant’s landlord. While the subtenant must follow the terms of the tenant’s original lease with the landlord, the tenant may put additional restrictions on the subtenant. The tenant also has the power to evict their subtenant.

Subtenancies usually occur in the following kinds of situations:

  1. A tenant rents their apartment out for the summer;

  2. A tenant rents their apartment out on a program like “Airbnb”;

  3. A tenant rents a spare room to a friend or roommate (the subtenant); or

  4. A tenant rents multiple residential or commercial units, which he sublets to others.

In these situations, your tenant may be able to evict subtenants. You still have the power to evict the tenant or the subtenant – especially if subletting is against the terms of the original rental agreement.

California Commercial and Residential Real Estate Attorneys

Understanding your rights as a real estate owner, commercial property owner, or property management company is important. Talk to a Sacramento real estate attorney today for help with your case. For a free consultation, contact the NewPoint Law Group, LLP today at 800-358-0305.

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