Hiring live-in caregivers is a complex situation in California, especially
for people who live in mobile homes, tiny homes, and other untraditional
properties. Because live-in caregivers live with the people they care
for, they are not only employees but also tenants.
But are live-in caregivers tenants? Not exactly.
Does a Live-In Caregiver Have Tenant Rights in California?
In California, people with disabilities have a right to have live-in caregivers,
whether they live in
mobile home parks or anywhere else. Nevertheless, live-in caregivers are not tenants of
the mobile home park or property.
state law defines live-in caregivers as employees. Unless the caretaker has a separate
written rental agreement, they can be discharged without notice. Live-in
caretakers do not need to pay rent, but they do not have tenant rights, either.
What Are Accessory Dwelling Units?
Sometimes, live-in caretakers live on someone’s property, but not
within their primary residence. Many cities in California allow
tiny homes, travel trailers, or recreational vehicles to be stationed on someone’s
property if a live-in caregiver resides there.
These are called caregiver dwellings or
accessory dwelling units (ADUs).
The County of Sonoma defines ADUs as:
“small dwelling units (up to 1,200 square feet) allowed in conjunction with
another primary dwelling unit in most residential, mixed-use, or agricultural zones.”
ADUs are known colloquially as “granny units” or “granny
flats.” In most cases, ADUs cannot be rented, which means residents
are not tenants.
As the term “granny flats,” suggests, many families use ADUs
to care for or provide space for aging or disabled relatives.
ADUs can be a great affordable housing option for older adults with family
property or a way to make live-in caretaking feel more private.
Get Legal Help
Whether you want to hire a live-in caretaker to stay in your home or mobile
home, or you want to build an accessory dwelling unit on your property,
you will have to navigate all relevant laws. For example, live-in caregivers
are allowed in mobile home parks but they may be subject to criminal background
checks even if they are not tenants.
Having a live-in caregiver in an ADU is also complex.
Live-in caregivers can help you improve your quality of life, no matter
where you live and what kind of space you are working with.
Allen, Semelsberger & Kaelin LLP is here to guide you through the laws at the local, state, and federal levels.
Before you hire a caregiver or start construction on your ADU, call us
at (888) 998-2031 or contact us online
and speak to one of our experienced attorneys.
We have been helping people since 1987, and we are ready to help you, too!