Reconciliation. Making amends. Getting back together. For some divorced couples, it isn’t just a laughable notion, or a vastly unlikely fantasy. For some, it can actually happen. This seemed to be the future for one potential client, a woman who reports she and her ex husband have agreed that their parting of ways was a mistake, and that they’re currently trying to get back together. However, an outside force is blocking the couple and their son from coming together under the same roof. What is this outside force? The landlord of the ex-husband’s apartment.
The woman states that the landlord “will not allow me in or on the lease because they don’t want a divorced couple living together. They think it will cause domestic violence which was never the case or ever happened.” She has been sneaking into the apartment at night to see her family, otherwise the landlord will evict her ex-husband and son. Her question is this: can the landlord really refuse to allow her to move back in just because she and her husband are divorced, and are trying to reconcile?
If the lease agreement is in her ex husband’s name and she is not listed as an approved occupant, the landlord could terminate the lease if her ex husband let her stay there. However, simply not wanting a divorced couple to live there is by itself probably a violation (at least arguably) of some California fair housing laws. She should find a lawyer that handles landlord tenant law, specializing in representing tenants rights, and see how best to tackle this situation. We all know it often takes a court case to split up, but who knew it could take another to get back together?
For more on landlord and tenant related real estate law, please visit our website: http://stanprowse.com/landlord-tenant-law
A man recently approached us with a complicated situation. Though he and his wife mutually agreed that divorce was in their family’s best interest, her reaction was negative to say the least when he served her with divorce papers. She promptly threatened to give 30 day notice to dissolve the lease agreement on the condo the couple rent, which, problematically for the husband, is leased only in her name. After those 30 days, she plans to move to another town, into an apartment where she has already cosigned a lease with her new boyfriend. To add fuel to the fire, the couple share a 12 year old daughter who wishes to remain with the father because she is afraid of her mother’s boyfriend. Of course, the mother wants custody of the daughter. This man states he can’t afford the rent on his own, and he believes his wife is trying to put him on the streets. His questions: Can she just throw him out? Can she just end the lease?
The leasehold interest, although hers as far as the landlord is concerned, is community property, so it therefore belongs to both the wife and the husband. Legally, her ability to evict him as a subtenant is exceedingly dismal. If she proposes to stop paying the rent and move out herself, that might be prohibited under the automatic restraining orders printed on the second page of his petition, because she’d be disposing of community property without his consent. However, we of course had to give him the honest truth about this situation. This type of discrepancy is highly technical and academic; dealing with it in a divorce case would be time consuming, and the result problematic. The reality is that if no one is paying the rent, he’ll have the landlord evicting him, no matter the status of his wife. The best thing for this man to do for himself and his daughter is to find a place to live that he can afford. That way, he isn’t dependent on the actions of his soon to be ex wife.
For more information on community property, as well as tenant protection, please visit their following respective pages on our website: http://stanprowse.com/community-property and http://stanprowse.com/real-estate-law/landlord-tenant-law