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I have been victimized by a sublessee who routinely ignored my requests to keep others out of my home during this pandemic. I threw him out with no notice and changed the locks. Now he is threatening to sue me.

Asked by user in California.

I allowed a friend to stay with me for a short while, paying half of my rent and food expenses. We didnt enter into a contract.

I am immunocompromised and have actually been at home not working for the past 14 months. Upfront, before coming, I asked him to respect my wishes to be serious about the COVID-19 pandemic and not do things that might put me at risk. He arrived on 5/27/20.

During his stay in June and July, he partied, refused to wear masks, and yelled at me when I asked him NOT to invite people over (I have a fantastic rooftop deck; a great place for parties). By early July, he came down with the COVID-19 virus. I actually had to leave my home quickly and rent a hotel to stay in for 10 days. When I finally came home, he had left "Aug Rent Money on the counter and took off for a 3-day bachelor party in Mexico, introducing the chances of bringing the virus back into the home again. So while he was gone, I changed the locks (7/31/20) and called him to say "I have changed the locks. You are too irresponsible and reckless during this pandemic and I cannot have you in my home. I kept the "Aug Rent" as he owes me more than this amount for expenses that he agreed to pay but had not yet paid to me.

He is threatening to sue me for his "Aug Rent." Does he have any case at all?? PLEASE, help me! Thank you!

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

Before I answer your question, its important to understand a few things about subleasing an apartment in California. First, you are allowed to sublease an apartment unless your lease explicitly prevents you from doing so (I havent reviewed your lease). Second, subtenants must follow the terms of the lease. Third, a sublease can be terminated with 30-days notice if theres no end date listed on the subtenant agreement.

It sounds like you entered into an oral subtenant agreement with your friend. Though you asked your friend not to have guests over, it doesnt appear this was a condition of the agreement. Consequently, it doesnt appear that he breached the agreement. Further, it sounds like you ended the sublease without providing at least 30-days notice. Finally, you are withholding the August rent payment despite ending the sublease agreement in July without proper notice.

Based on the information you have provided, it appears that your friend will likely prevail if he sues you for the August rent.

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