Illegal Garage Conversion I have a house in Los Angeles with an illegal garage…

Illegal Garage Conversion
I have a house in Los Angeles with an illegal garage conversion. A ”friend” of mine began renting it from me 3 yrs ago. We signed a one-year lease agreement and it then went month to month. In 1/2008, via email, we extended the agreement until 12/31/2008.

In mid-December, when I finally got him to tell me what his plans were, he told me that unless I paid him big money, he wasn’t going to move out and that he was going to report me to the city. Not only would I have to pay him relocation fees, but I would also get fined and would have to pay to have the conversion brought up to code. A caveat: he is a licensed contractor who moved in knowing that it was not permitted – I have emails attesting to his knowledge.

Not sure where to go: On 1/1/09 should I serve him a 3-day eviction notice b/c the lease is over? Does our email exchange in January stating and acknowledging that the lease is over on 12/31/2008 constitute notification?

The tenant feels that he is due relocation fees under rent stabilization – the unit isn’t legal, is the rental agreement legal?

If I go the route of evicting him b/c the unit is not permitted will I have to pay him relocation fees? Does he have basis to sue me? How much notice do I give if any?

2 thoughts on “Illegal Garage Conversion I have a house in Los Angeles with an illegal garage…

  1. Re: Illegal Garage Conversion
    You raise many issues. It sounds as if you are being bullied. There is a doctrine called “pare delicto” in which if both parties are of equal culpubility to an illegal contract then the contract should be enforced in equity. I would recommend a settlement if possible and agressive litigation if not. Contact me directly.

    2185 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
    San Diego, CA 92107

  2. Re: Illegal Garage Conversion
    I must be quite honest. You have so many questions and some facts [though you gave many still require more specifics to render a legal opinion] of relevance are missing. I would advise that you seek an attorney to asist in the handling of this matter for you.

    I can say this, and that is if the unit is illegal; then there is no valid agreement. You can not contract as to an illegality [ act or otherwise]. Also, if illegal then you could not collect rent, so technically you will be required to return rent collected. However, cutting against this is the fact that tenant will not be allowed to stay for free. So the judge will likily impose a monthly amount of what is the reasonable rental value in the area and you return the difference to the tenant if any. Finally, yes relocation amount you will likily have to pay!

    That is generally how it works . There are also rent control ordinance considerations. And, Building and Safety WILL be a concern- possible city attorney misdeamenor filings. BUT NOTHING TO OUTRAGEOUS. For a specific legal opinion I advise you seek representation in the matter and make sure you bring all documents for review. aN ATTORNEY CAN WALK YOU THROUGH IT ALL AND MITIGATE ANY NEGATIVES. BUT ACT , DONT WAIT TO JUST RESPOND!

    If i may be of assistance; please contact me. Thank you for allowing me to be of service.

    Quentin Simms
    Post Office Box 40106
    Pasadena, CA 91114

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