Exceeding Your Expectations

 

Have you lived in a hotel, motel, or other lodging facility in the past five years?  Were you forced to move, or to checkout and reregister, every 28 to 30 days in order to maintain your transient occupancy status?  If so, California’s Transient Occupancy statutes were designed to protect you.  

Landlords in such facilities often employ an illegal technique known as the “28-day shuffle” to keep their tenants classified as transient occupants.  These landlords prefer that their residents maintain transient occupancy status because unlike tenants, landlords are not required to give transient occupants notice before evicting them for failing to pay on time.  Furthermore, landlords are allowed to enter the unit of a transient occupant and physically remove the occupant and/or his belongings.   

            To protect these residents, statutory rights have been provided to all “persons who hire dwelling units located within this state including tenants, lessees, boarders, lodgers, and others, however denominated” by sections 1940 through 1956 of the California Civil Code.[1]  However, section 1940 also provides for two exceptions to this definition of “persons who hire”.  First, persons who maintain “transient occupancy in a hotel, motel, residence club or other facility” for thirty days or less.[2]  And second, persons occupying a room at a hotel or motel “where the innkeeper retains a right of access to and control of the dwelling unit and the hotel or motel provides or offers all of the following services to all of the residents”:

(A)  Facilities for safeguarding personal property;

(B)  Central telephone service;

(C)  Maid, mail, and room services;

(D)  Occupancy for periods of less than seven days; and

(E)   Food service provided by a food establishment, located on or adjacent to the premises of the hotel/motel, and owned or operated by the innkeeper or a person/entity affiliated with the innkeeper.[3]

 

Moreover, section 1940.1(a) prohibits persons from requiring an occupant of a “residential hotel” to “move, or check out and reregister, before the expiration of 30 days occupancy if a purpose is to have that occupant maintain transient occupancy status.”[4]  A “residential hotel” is defined as “any building containing six or more guestrooms or efficiency units… intended or designed to be used, or which are used, rented, or hired out, to be occupied, or which are occupied, for sleeping purposes by guests, which is also the primary residence of those guests.”[5] 

Finally, section 1940.1(b) provides the remedy for unlawfully requiring a resident to maintain his transient occupancy status.  “In addition to any remedies provided by local ordinance, any violation of subdivision (a) is punishable by a civil penalty of five hundred dollars ($500).”[6] 

                If you have been forced to move out, or to checkout and reregister every 28 days from a hotel or motel, contact an experienced attorney at the JCL LAW FIRM, APC, at 1-888-498-6999 for a free consultation about your legal rights. 



[1] Cal. Civ. Code § 1940(a).

[2] Cal. Civ. Code § 1940(b)(1).

[3] Cal. Civ. Code § 1940(b)(2).

[4] Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.1(a).

[5] Cal. Health & Safety Code § 50519.

[6] Cal. Civ. Code § 1940.1(b).

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