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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 27198
Experience:  Former judicial law clerk, lawyer
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In have been given (on May 18) a sealed 30-day notice to

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In have been given (on May 18) a sealed 30-day notice to vacate my room. There was no prior warning that a 30-day notice was coming and I was not given a verbal warning. I didn't open the letter for 4 or 5 days because I had not idea it was important and was busy with other things. I was pretty upset because there were many false statements and lies in this letter. So I did not sign it. The notice was because, as the homeowner had known before I started to rent there, I was working with a financial service company (World Financial Group) and the homeowner, Bob Brunton, was working with his own financial company, Brunton Insurance Agency. He did not care when I moved in 3 months ago, but apparently there were some new regulations passed in April 2016 that made this suddenly a "conflict of interest as potential competitors.Bot***** *****ne, on May 18 he put his sealed letter into my mail, but I did not open it until May 28. I got pretty upset with Bob because he had kept how big the problem was secret and did not tell me he wa going to give me a 30 day notice even after he left the May 18 letter for me. I asked for a meeting with Bob and his wife Elena and got one on May 29. I asked Bob what alternatives were available. He was adamant that there were none. I asked him to approach the new company he has partnered with for a month (Harvest Investment Srvices/Pro-Equites) and asked them what compromises could be made because both Bob and Elena had separately told me (after the May 18 letter) they would allow me plenty of time to find a new place to rent. This was a clear verbal agreement. We do not have a written rental agreement, although at the start we agree verbally that each of us could give the other a 30-day notice before moving out.Robert did go into his new company to ask them what comprises to the 30 day eviction could be made. Several days later he enthusiastically came back to me and said there were 3 or 4 alternative compromises, but that he was busy and didn't have time to tell me immediately. He never came back to tell me what they were. When I asked him directly on June 8, he said there was nothing agreed. He still would not tell me what the options were, but did say that they would each cost him some money (such as putting in a private door for me.) So apparently, contrary to what Bob said, there were ways for me top stay in my rented room. Today Bob mentioned that they had decided not to rent to anyone after I left. So it appears because of this and because there were ways for me to stay in my room, that he has some alternative reasons for wanting me to leave. The relationship was great (as his wife keeps saying) and that they really did not want me to have to move away.My question: what choices/alternatives do I have at this time. The original notice said to vacate by June 19 or at the latest by June 30. This even though Bob and his wife said they would not force me to move until I had time to find a new place.A side issue that I would like your answer for. My June rent was due June 1 and I did not pay it until I could get from Bob Brunton what the decision was on lengthening the time limit before I had to vacate. I stated it to Bob on May 18 and several times since that I needed to know what he (through his new company) would allow me and when I had that information I would want to get an opinion from an attorney to see what all my options are.Because of other unplanned expenses, I did have the rent on June 1 and wrote a check, but several emergencies forced me to use some of the rent money. I am willing to pay any rent that is due once I find out my legal requirements. If I do not pay or do not pay for another week, what are the consequences. I have only rented here for 3 months, so Bob only needs the 30 days (in California it is 60 days if you have lived in a place for 1 year or more). What is the worst that can happen if I do not pay June rent or delay it? I believe the Bruntons have to file with the court and then get the Sheriff to post a notice on my door. Is that correct? For instance, if I did not vacate kfor 1 or even 2 months more, what can happen to me? If they wanted to, I am under the understanding (Bob was particularly vague) that if they added a private door to my room, that would be acceptable.I apologize that my description became so long. I have been having trouble with the fact that the landlord, Bob Brunton, kept the situation from me so long, even after writing the 30-day notice. And the notice is factually incorrect. Bob excused that by saying that he has a hard time writing letters. My opinion is that we had an initial verbal agreement to require a 30-day notice before ending the rental agreement. And my opinion is that we had subsequent verbal agreements from both Bob Brunton and his wife that they would allow me a longer time to find a suitable place to move to. What should I do?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

California law unfortunately only requires 30 days written notice to vacate a tenancy for tenants who have lived in a property less than one year. Cal. Civ. Code, Section 1946.1. The law doesn't give the tenant any additional time for not opening the letter when it's received - if that were the case, tenants would never open letters from their landlords and it would be nearly impossible to terminate a month-to-month lease. You said that you opened the notice on May 28 and the letter gives you until June 30 at the latest, so you still got 30 days notice.

Without a written lease agreement, the landlord's reasons for asking you to leave are irrelevant. Unless the eviction were based on you requesting repairs are your status as a member of a minority group, he's allowed to give you 30 days notice just because he wants to. If the notice says "At that latest, June 30," that's the date you need to be out. It is not legally relevant that he stated incorrect facts in the notice, because he doesn't have to state any facts at all. The only thing the notice needs is the date you're required to leave, at least 30 days after when they give you the notice.

Not paying rent adds an additional problem, because it means he can now serve you with a 3 day notice to pay or quit and go to court to evict you earlier than June 30. That means filing a Complaint, paying a sheriff to serve it on you (or having a friend hand it to you), going to trial, getting a judgment and a writ of execution, having it posted, and then having the sheriff forcibly remove you from the premises. When it gets to that point, the sheriff could place all of your belongings on the sidewalk and neither the state nor the landlord would be responsible if someone took them before you could move them to a secure location. Your landlord cannot do that if you pay rent through the end of the month. Court typically takes a few weeks, so chances are you wouldn't have a hearing date before June 30 at this point, but your landlord could report the late payment on your credit.

I'm sorry to say, the only options for a tenant being given a notice to terminate a month to month lease are to move out voluntarily or wait and see if the landlord evicts them. If he goes to court on July 1, the case could be over before the end of the month. Your rental history would show an eviction, and it could become more difficult to find a new place to rent in the future. The landlord can also seek a judgment for the unpaid rent at the same time, which would go on your credit. A judgment could also be used to garnish your wages, which means your employer would see it.

I apologize that this was probably not the Answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand. Please rate my answer positively to ensure I am paid for the time I spent answering your question. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. Thank you.

Good luck.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 4 months ago.

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