If I am renting a room in a house, is the back yard considered to be a common area?

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If I am renting a room in a house, is the back yard considered to be a common area?

Asked on March 31, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no law specifying or detailing this; it is completely a matter of contract--or lease--between the landlord and tenant to define what is a common area and what access to or use of it a tenant may make. If there is either no written lease, or a written lease does not specify this, then the issue is to clarify what was the reasonable expectation of the parties when they agreed to the lease. For example, if you were told that the backyard was a common area and/or that you could use it, or the space was advertised as having access to outdoor or yard space, etc., that would be evidence that the backyard was to be considered a common area. Or if there are other tenants and they get to use the backyard, it would be hard to exclude you from doing so. Of if the front yard is clearly common space, it would be difficult to arbitrarily say the backyard is not. Etc.


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