Can tenant use a rental room as an office?

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Can tenant use a rental room as an office?

I rent a room in my house. For the last 2 weeks the tenant has been working from home (she has only been here a month). She stated that her office is being renovated as the reason. When she moved in she never stated that she would be using the bedroom as an office. She has never asked my permission to use bedroom as office. Utilities are included in the rental. Her being here all day will increase my utilities. Can I ask her to pay more for rent?

Asked on September 25, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The tenant may be in violation of the lease; if the premises were clearly rented as a residence, not as a commercial or office setting, then it may be that an implied term of the lease was that it would be used for residential purposes only, and that therefore running a business from it may be a breach of the contract. Alternately, it may be considered that there was no meeting of the minds in forming the contract, since you were intending to rent out a residence and this person wanted to rent office space or run a home-based business from it; if there was no agreeement or meeting of the minds, there would be no valid contract formed. In either event, you may have grounds to terminate or void the lease, and if you can, then you could renegotiate a new one. You should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney about your options.


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