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California Caregiver Apartment

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  • California Caregiver Apartment

    A friend of a friend has an interesting problem. She was a caregiver for a gentleman who owned a storage facility. He lived in an apartment on premises and she lived in a separate, on-premise apartment (bed & bath, no kitchen). In addition to caring for him, she managed the storage facility. She also had a space that she used for a sewing studio. So it's part residential, part commercial space. The owner died and his heirs want her gone. So they laid her off and have told her that she can only have access to her spaces during normal business hours. She didn't pay rent, had no lease. So was there a landlord-tenant relationship? Don't they need to give her a 30-day notice? I'm thinking yes, but I'm not sure.

  • #2
    This isn't an employment law matter, but a landlord-tennant one. Her employer (the heirs) could fire her at any time, particularly if there is no contract. A good starting point is this thread http://www.laborlawtalk.com/showthread.php?t=308447
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Did she have any written employment contract/agreement that stated the terms of her on-site housing? If it was part of her compensation, then it should be documented. If the answer is no, then I agree with Elle that it would go back to landlord tenant laws when there is no lease. This is the reason it is always best to get these types of situations in writing.

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      • #4
        No written agreement (of course). Some more info... They gave her 30 days notice to move (so that's OK on her month-to-month tenancy, I guess), terminated her employment immediately (not nice after 10 years, but not illegal), so the only issue is that she only can have access to "her" space during "normal working hours" during the 30 days. This is a storage facility and the apartment seems to be an integral/converted part of the manager office.

        She never paid rent (nor taxes on the FMV of the space). There's no security deposit at risk. She has another place to live. My advice is just to get her stuff out, file for UI (hoping that her (now dead) boss paid taxes), and move on.

        If a moderator wants to move this to a more appropriate area, feel free.

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        • #5
          I would think a caregiver would expect to be terminated when their charge passes away. What other outcome would there be?

          Did your friend get a W-2 from the position? If not, I would not expect the wages were reported to the government so no unemployment.

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          • #6
            She has access to the apartment to live in for 30 days, right? It's just access to the storage space/sewing studio that is the issue? Years ago our company owned and managed storage spaces with apartments, but it was before I was hired. That said, I would expect her to have the same access to her storage space as others who rent storage space. If that is only during business hours, then that applies to her too. She may have been used to having 24/7 access as an employee, but now that she is no longer employed, I wouldn't expect them to allow her to roam the property/go into the storage units after hours unless they allow that of other renters.

            eta: there is different liability between an employee and a renter. Are other renters allowed to have a working studio in a unit? I know ours were only allowed to store, not to live/work/etc out of the unit.
            Last edited by hr for me; 03-05-2014, 05:50 AM.

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            • #7
              Agree that if the person she was providing care for passed away, then termination isn't even unfair. It is to be expected. Same with the living arrangement if it was based on needing to be there to provide care. If I hired a live in nanny and my kid grew up, I wouldn't expect to allow the nanny to live in my house forever for free.

              It also makes sense to limit the hours a now unemployed and soon to be evicted employee has access to your house and business. That is just smart.
              I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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              • #8
                Nah, it's a given- caretaker's client dies, and it's over. In every case I know of where an employee had housing supplied by the employer, when the job ended, tenancy did as well. Only time an exception is made is if there is a contract that specifically states different. Otherwise, job ends, housing ends. There were a couple cases similar to this in California and Colorado, and each time it was found in favor of the employer.
                I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
                Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
                I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
                Don't worry, be happy.

                http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

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