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Illegal unit evictions

Empower yourself against Illegal unit evictions California. Understand your rights as a tenant and learn how to protect them effectively.

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Understand your rights and the legal implications of illegal unit evictions in California. Learn what constitutes an illegal unit and how to protect yourself.

Illegal Unit Evictions in California: What You Need to Know

❓ What is an illegal rental unit in California?
A California residential rental unit without a city Certificate of Occupancy is prohibited.
❓ What to do if you are evicted illegally in California?
If your landlord evicted you illegally, you may claim for breach of contract.
❓ What makes a unit uninhabitable in California?
If a unit violates housing and health codes, it's uninhabitable.
❓ Can landlords evict in California right now?
In California, landlords can evict tenants for non-payment of rent or agreement violations. COVID-19-specific protections may apply.
California landlords and tenants worry about illegal unit evictions. Unpermitted or unzoned residential units are illegal.
Landlords who rent unauthorized units risk city or county penalties and citations. If your tenants find they're in an unpermitted unit, they may sue you.

Uncovering the Truth: The Hidden Dangers of Renting an Illegal unit evictions in California

An illegal unit refers to a residential space that lacks the required Certificate of Occupancy from the city. Even if a rental unit is deemed illegal, it may still be subject to the San Francisco Rent Ordinance unless it's exempted for some other reason.
Signs of an illegal unit:
Indicators of living in an unlawful unit include:
👉 Separate entry.
👉 No mailbox.
👉 No address.
👉 Needing to pass through a garage to access the unit.
👉 "1/2" or "A, B" in the address.
👉 No gas or electric meters.
👉 Low (7-foot) ceilings.
👉 Insufficient windows.
👉 Visible piping and ducting along the ceiling.

✅ Habitability concerns:
Illegal housing may not meet safety norms. Despite being illegal, landlords must offer such tenants with the same habitability as those in conforming units. This covers plumbing, gas, electricity, weather protection, water supply, sewage disposal, heating, lighting, and property maintenance.
✅ Renting an illegal unit has legal consequences:
Contracts for illegal purposes are invalid. Without a CO, landlords cannot charge tenants rent. However, occupants in unauthorized units risk eviction.
✅ Seeking legal advice:
If you feel you're living in an illegal unit or have concerns, visit an experienced tenants' rights attorney: Martinez Law Center. We can help resolve the situation and explain your tenant rights.
Illegal Unit Evictions in California

Illegal Unit Evictions in California: Know Your Rights

Your Rights as a Tenant

Even unlawful tenants in California have rights. These are:
✅ Habitable living environment.
✅ Privacy rights.
✅ Right to repair and deduct.
✅ Right to withhold rent.
✅ Right to sue for damages.
✅ Right to fight eviction.

Frequently Asked Questions

❓ Is my California landlord liable for renting an illegal apartment?
You can sue your landlord for renting an unauthorized unit. You may be able to recoup four years of rent.
❓ California illegal eviction penalties?
Illegal eviction can cost landlords fines and tenant lawsuits.
❓ California no-fault eviction reasons?
The landlord's purpose to occupy, demolish, or alter the apartment are no-fault causes.
❓ Tenant rights in California?
Tenants have the right to privacy, a safe home, and eviction defense.
❓ What if I think I'm living in an illegal unit?
Contact a tenants' rights organization or attorney if you think you're living in an unauthorized unit. Your local building department can verify your unit's permits.
❓ Can California landlords evict me without cause?
After 12 months, California landlords cannot evict tenants without cause under the Tenant Protection Act of 2019.
❓ What makes California livable?
In California, a habitable living environment includes effective waterproofing and weather protection, plumbing and gas facilities in good working order, hot and cold running water, proper waste disposal systems, functioning heating systems, electrical lighting, clean and sanitary buildings and grounds (free from debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin), and adequate trash receptacles.
❓ Can my landlord evict me from an illegal unit?
If your landlord tries to evict you from an illegal flat, seek legal assistance immediately. Rights and defenses may help you keep your house.
❓ Can a landlord collect rent for an illegal unit in California?
An unauthorized unit's landlord cannot collect rent. You may be eligible to recover illegal unit rent.
❓ What if authorities find an unlawful unit?
Authorities may order the landlord to fix an illegal apartment and vacate it. Landlords may be fined or penalized.
If you're facing an illegal unit eviction, consult a lawyer. Martinez Law Center can advise and defend you.

Illegal Apartments Exposed: What Every Tenant Should Know:

What is considered an illegal unit?

A California residential unit without a city-issued Certificate of Occupancy or zoning regulations is illegal. Garage conversions, basement apartments, and in-law units may be unpermitted. Unless exempt, a unit may be subject to municipal rent control legislation despite its illegality.
❓ California's illegal rental unit?
What does illegal California rental mean? Illegal rental units lack city-issued Certificates of Occupancy. Unless exempt, the San Francisco Rent Ordinance applies to such a unit, despite its illegality.
❓ What to do if you are evicted illegally in California?
Know your rights and how to protect yourself if you're evicted illegally in California. If your landlord evicted you illegally, you can sue. This could involve filing a lawsuit to reclaim your unit and recover damages from the wrongful eviction.
The Rent Ordinance and other regulations ban landlord retaliation for tenant rights. If you report housing code infractions or petition the Rent Board, your landlord cannot evict you in retribution.
Gather your lease agreement, landlord correspondence, and rent payments if you're evicted illegally. Your case depends on these.
Consult Martinez Law Center. A lawyer or legal assistance agency can advise you, explain your rights, and represent you in court. You are not alone, and there are tools to support you through this difficult time.
Illegal Unit Evictions in California

Tenant Beware: The Perils of Renting an Unlawful Apartment

Signs that you're living in an illegal unit

Living in an unauthorized unit has various signs. These include no separate utility meters, very low ceilings, no windows or ventilation, visible wiring or plumbing, or no legal address for the apartment. If you have to enter your apartment through another living area or if it appears to have been added or remodeled without professional building, these are also signs.
❓ What are the elements of wrongful eviction in California?
In California, wrongful eviction occurs when a landlord illegally evicts a tenant. Tenants must grasp these forms to defend their rights.
Illegal eviction notices cause rent-controlled tenants to depart. Rent control regulations prevent unfair rent hikes and evictions. A landlord's incorrect eviction notice violates these laws.
Owner-move-in or relative-move-in evictions are also wrongful. If a tenant or relative wants to move in, a landlord can evict them. The landlord or relative must move in within a certain timeframe. Wrongful eviction occurs if the landlord or relative doesn't move in within this time.
Wrongful eviction violates tenant rights. Consult a tenant law attorney if you think you were unlawfully evicted. They can explain your rights and assist you seek justice.
❓ Is my California landlord liable for renting an illegal apartment?
If your California landlord rents you an illegal flat, you may be able to sue. Unpermitted or unzoned apartments are illegal. The city or county may fine landlords who violate these restrictions.
The landlord may have to expel the renter from the unauthorized unit. Tenants who were ignorant of the unit's illegality may be distressed. Tenants have rights, so know them. If you're evicted because the unit's illegal, you can sue the landlord for violating your rental agreement. This could result in compensation for eviction-related damages like moving costs or higher rent.
If this happens, get legal advice. A lawyer can explain your rights and advise you through suing your landlord.
❓ Can Californians rent unpermitted ADUs?
Renting an unpermitted Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)—also known as a granny flat or in-law unit—in California can have serious legal and financial ramifications. Unpermitted ADUs don't fulfill municipal building and safety requirements.
You risk city or county penalties and citations if you rent such a unit. These fines enforce zoning restrictions and guarantee rental properties satisfy safety and habitability standards.
If your tenants find they're in an unpermitted ADU, they may sue you. This could result in a court order compelling you to return all rent and utilities payments the tenants paid while residing in the unit.
Given these concerns, renting out an ADU without permissions is risky. If you're building an ADU, it's worth the effort and money to get permits and comply with local rules. This can prevent legal difficulties and ensure your tenants' safety.


Orange County, LA County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and limited cases in San Diego.
Mark has experienced many phases of the Southern California Real Estate Market, from booms to downturns, and has developed fantastic perspective.

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