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

Answers:

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.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.