Tenant Defined. A tenant is not the same as a guest. Tenants have a specific status under the law and have the right to full possession and control of the unit they rent, subject to the terms of their lease or rental agreement. Guests have no possessory rights. Section 1940 of the Civil Code defines tenants as “persons who hire dwelling units...including tenants, lessees, boarders, lodgers, and others..." Civil Code §1925 defines hiring as “a contract by which one gives to another the temporary possession and use of property, other than money, for reward, and the latter agrees to return the same to the former at a future time.”
Rent Defined. Rent is defined as consideration for the use or occupation of property. (Black's Law Dictionary.) Consideration can be money, goods, services or other value. Accordingly, the gratitude of a relative or the affection of a mistress could both qualify as rent and the occupant deemed a tenant. Civil Code §1951 defines rent as “charges equivalent to rent.”
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