What are my rights if I’m renting a house from someone who did not own it when I first moved in?

I rented out a house from my mother-in-law and thought the house was in her name. She even provided a lease agreement to me though the house was not legally in her name until 6 months later. Is this a valid rental agreement?

Asked on August 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If she had authority over the house--as a manager for the owner; pursuant to power-of-attorney; etc.--then the agreement would be valid. But if she was given no authority and also did not own the home, then the rental agreement is not valid--someone cannot rent out property which they do not own or control.

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