What are a tenant’s rights to exterior space?

UPDATED: Sep 12, 2011

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What are a tenant’s rights to exterior space?

My landlord moved in some new tenants next to me and we share a common patio. They decided they want to put up a divider and give me on one forth of it; now they have 3 quarters. There is a palm tree stump that is sticking out on my little walkway that she gave me to walk in and it is a tight squeeze. Can she do this? What can I do as this is unfair to me. I have lived there for 3 years

Asked on September 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In order to answer your question about your and other tenants' rights to share a common patio area, you need to carefully read your written lease agreement with your landlord (assuming you have one) in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicitng state law.

If the area in dispute outside the rental's interior is "common area patio space" as defined in your written lease, then it appears that all tenants have the right to use its entirety. Meaning, a section cannot be partioned off by one tenant to the exclsuion of another.

I suggest you call and write your landlord about the current problem that you have with the adjoining tenant and see what he or she can do to assist.

Good luck.

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