"When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong."
Sometimes “doubled up” situations become burdensome without becoming dangerous. When full out homelessness is the alternative, it's important to know the difference. If the situation is dangerous, I cannot stress enough that you need to leave immediately.
However, if the situation has gotten burdensome or uncomfortable (but not dangerous), & your hosts decide they want you to leave immediately, you need to know that if you live in the state of California you have rights. The section below will explain your rights in the state of California:
Tenant - At - Will: If you have received permission to live in someone’s home for a period of time longer than one month, in the eyes of the law, you are no longer considered a guest. California is a state that supports tenancy-at-will, which means that you don’t need a written contract or lease to be considered a tenant. If you’ve lived there for longer than a month, then your host is your landlord & you are a tenant. If your host decides they want you to leave, they can’t just tell you to get out. They can’t throw out your things, or change the locks, or lock you out, or intimidate you. These actions are illegal & breaking these civil laws comes with hefty fines. Don’t be afraid if your host calls the police, trying to force you to leave. The police know the law, even if your host doesn’t. The police will explain your rights to your host, ask you a few questions, & leave you both in peace.
Since you are a tenant-at-will, your host will have to evict you at-will, in order to legally force you to leave. Hopefully it never comes to this between you & your host, since having to legally remove you from the premises can cause a contentious relationship & makes for a stressful living environment. However if it does come to this, your most valuable resource in the situation is not a friendly relationship with your host, it’s time. Time will be the only thing keeping you from homelessness, therefore you must use all the time you have at your disposal. Since your host will have to formally evict you, the process of eviction will buy you time.
Thirty Day / Sixty Day Notice
Thirty Day Notice: If you have been living with your host for at least 30 days but less than one year, they are required by law to serve you with a 30-day notice to leave.
Sixty Day Notice: If you have been living with your host for more than one year, they are required by law to serve you with a 60-day notice to leave.
When Do The Thirty/ Sixty Days Begin?
The clock begins when you are officially & legally served. Your 30 or 60 day notice is not considered valid unless your host correctly files a slew of complicated paperwork (usually with the help of an attorney) with the court. Then the notice will be given to you via registered mail or served by an official party. Verbal or written requests (whether by letter, email or text), are not considered valid by the court & will not start your 30 or 60 days.
What Happens Next?
Once you are served with a 30 or 60 day notice, hopefully you’ve been able to gather the resources & space you need to leave your host's home & be well. If that is the case, then you’ll leave when the 30 or 60 days or up. If that isn’t the case & you remain beyond the expiration of your eviction notice, your host is still not legally allowed to simply put you out, or change the locks. In fact if they do change the locks, they are liable to pay $100 per night that you are illegally displaced. The only thing the host can do is report to the court that you haven’t left, & get a court date to request that you be forcibly removed. The time between filing that request & getting a court date is typically around 45 days. However once they have their day in court, things will move fairly quickly. The judge will order that you be forcibly evicted, & within a week (maybe less) of the ruling, the sheriff will come & put you out. Hopefully things will never escalate this far, but if they do, it's important for you to understand the process.