Most people prefer to remain self-sufficient for as long as possible. In your senior years, however, your circumstances--a change in your health or finances, for example--may call for a new living arrangement.
Maybe. In some counties, if you are over age 55 (or severely or permanently disabled) and you sell your home to buy another home of the same or lesser value in the same county, your property tax will be calculated according to the base year value of your old home. In addition, some counties have ordinances allowing you to move from one county to the next--and still get the tax break. However, you will only get this property tax break once--unless you become disabled after receiving the tax relief based on your age. (RTC § 69.5)
Also, regardless of your age, you can sell your home for up to $250,000 in tax-free profit without owing capital gains tax--if you have owned and lived in your home for two years during the five years prior to the sale. If you are married and file a joint return, you would generally be allowed up to $500,000 in tax-free gain from the sale of your home. (Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Pub. 523)
No. It is illegal for landlords to discriminate against anyone simply because he or she is 62 years old or older. Nor is it legal to discriminate against a prospective home buyer based on his or her age. (California Fair Employment and Housing Act, CC § 51.2; GC § 12955(d))
If you have a long-term lease, your landlord cannot evict you during the lease term unless you violate one of the lease provisions, such as failing to pay your rent. With a month-to-month lease, your landlord, in general, simply needs to give you 30 days' notice, or 60 days' notice if you've lived in the rental for more than a year. In most cities, your landlord does not have to give a reason for evicting you. (CC § 1946.1) There are, however, exceptions. For example, your landlord cannot evict you in retaliation for filing certain legal complaints. Nor can your landlord discriminate against you based on your age or various other personal characteristics. If you live in a mobile home park (CC § 798.55), it could be more difficult to evict you. In most cities with rent control ordinances, your landlord would have to have a "good cause" to evict you.
However, if you fail to pay rent, destroy or severely damage the property, use it for unlawful purposes (such as selling drugs), substantially interfere with the rights of other tenants or violate any other provision in the lease, you could receive a written notice to move out in three days. Landlords have been allowed since Jan. 1, 2012 to ban tobacco smoking under new leases and rental agreements. (CC § 1947.5)
The fact that an eviction will leave you homeless is not a legal defense. However, you cannot be kicked out of your home without a court order issued by a judge. Even then, only a sheriff's deputy or marshal can actually evict you. Your landlord cannot lock you out or shut off your utilities without going through a legal process. (CC § 789.3) For example, if you break your rental agreement by failing to pay your rent, your landlord could send you a three-day notice. If you did not violate your rental agreement, the landlord could send you a 30-day notice (or a 60-day notice for long-term tenants). Then, after the notice period is over, he or she could file an unlawful detainer seeking a court-ordered eviction. (CCP § 1161) A copy must be delivered to you. Then you would have five days to oppose the eviction by filing a written answer with the court. Seek legal help immediately. If you ignore an unlawful detainer, it could result in a default judgment authorizing immediate eviction.
If you cannot afford the fee for filing an answer, you can submit a form asking the court to waive it. If you have very little income and cannot afford an attorney, you may qualify for assistance from a local legal aid society. (See Getting Legal Help.)
Even if the court authorizes the eviction, you may have a last resort. You could file a petition for relief from forfeiture. If the eviction would be harder on you than your continued residence would be on the landlord, the judge may allow you to stay put if you are able to pay the rent. (CCP § 1179)
You also could ask the judge to postpone the eviction to give you time to prepare an appeal or to find somewhere else to live. Judges often grant such a request if you pay all of the rent up to your departure date. For more information, order a free copy of the State Bar pamphlet. What Should I Know Before I Rent? (See Resources.)
Maybe. But keep in mind that you have certain rights and protections in such a situation. If you have a lease, for example, federal law generally gives you the right to remain in your apartment until the end of that lease. The lease could only be terminated based on a foreclosure if the new owner plans to move into your apartment--and then you would be entitled to a 90-day written notice. If your lease is expiring or is a month-to-month agreement, you now must receive a 90-day notice to vacate before eviction proceedings can begin. Also, if your property was foreclosed on by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, there are new opportunities for post-foreclosure rental agreements that could keep you in your home. If you live in a city with "just cause" protections, a foreclosure generally would not be reason enough to evict you--even after the expiration of any lease. For information on tenants rights call Tenants Together at 888-495-8020.
You have other rights as well. The new owner, for example, cannot change your locks without a court order or shut off your utilities. In light of a recent boom in real estate scams, you should verify the iden-tity of anyone who approaches you claiming to be the new owner. For more information, go to ForeclosureInfoCa.org.
Yes. You have the legal right to do so if you have a disability and the modifications are necessary for your "full enjoyment of the premises." You may have to promise that you'll return the apartment to its original state when you move, but a landlord cannot prohibit such changes. If he or she does, you can file a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing or HUD. For more information, call the Department of Consumer Affairs for a referral to a local tenants rights office or check the department's website for a list (see Resources).Consumer Affairs' online publication California Tenants: A Guide to Residential Tenants' and Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities may be helpful. To get a free copy by mail, call 866-320-8652 or send your request to: California Tenants, c/o Department of Consumer Affairs, Policy and Publications Development Office, 1625 N. Market Blvd., Suite N-112, Sacramento, CA 95834.
It depends on your situation. Generally, the housing development's minimum age for residency (at least 55) would not apply to a spouse or cohabitant, a family member who is caring for you, a hired caregiver or a person who provides you with "primary physical or economic support." There are other exceptions as well. (CC § 51.3)
No, not if you are over 60 and live in rented housing owned or operated by the state, city or county. State law allows you to keep up to two pets. (HSC § 19901) Federal law also allows seniors and disabled people living in federally assisted rental units to keep pets. (This does not apply to private landlords.)
Also, if you live in a mobile home park, you cannot be charged a fee for keeping a pet unless the park actually provides special services or facilities for pets. (CC § 798.33)
Yes. If your doctor confirms (in writing) that you will be away from home for medical treatment, the mobile home park management must allow you to rent out your home or sublet the space for up to 12 months--as long as certain criteria are met. (CC § 798.23.5) For a copy of California's Mobilehome Residency Law, visit hcd.ca.gov (go to Quick Links, the Office of the Mobilehome Ombudsman) or call the Office of the Mobilehome Ombudsman at 800-952-5275.
To check the license of any facility that provides medical care, call the state Department of Public Health licensing and certification program at 800-236-9747. To verify the license of a facility that does noat provide medical care, call a local or regional California Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing office or visit www.ccld.ca.gov .
See Finding a Caregiver or Nursing Home for living arrangements involving greater assistance. For more information on your alternatives, you might contact the California Registry, which can provide you with a free list of assisted living, residential care or nursing home options based on your needs, budget and location. Check websites maintained by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the state Department of Public Health, the Administration on Aging and AARP. Your local Area Agency on Aging may also be able to assist you. (See Resources.)
The California Registry also provides a free list of assisted living, residential care or nursing homes. For more information visit www.calregistry.com or call 800-777-7575.
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