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Ask CalAttorney2 Your Own Question
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10215
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing both landlords and tenants in residential and commercial property disputes.
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My family and I rented an RV in Feb, paid the $1300 deposit

Customer Question

My family and I rented an RV in Feb, paid the $1300 deposit just like any lease agreement. Shortly after(a few weeks) my hours were cut at work and I could not make rent for March. On 3/30 my land lady berated me, yelled and insulted me in front of another park employee and my 4 year old and refused to work with me what so ever, even after informing her that my fiance had found work and his first check would be on 4/8, and that was my pay day as well and we could pay for both march and the upcoming april rent. After having her publicly shame me, she then said we had to be out by the 4/1 and gave me a 72 hour notice of some general sort and said that if we did not vacate by the 1st she would call the police and have us removed.The lease was month to month. I later found out that the 72 hours does not start until the day FOLLOWING the notice and the 3rd day happened to fall on a SATURDAY, I was not legally given the right amount of time to vacate in 72 hours. My lease also clearly stated that should either party want to terminate residency we are to be given a 30 day notice. She also said that she would be taking our ENTIRE deposit to cover march and April and then send the rest to collections. I was not given an option to pay the march rent and my notice does not clearly state what we owe. I feel very violated. Am I really to be charged rent for April on a month to month lease when she made us leave by April 1st? Do I have any rights here at all? I have never been in a place that is so unwilling to work with someone when finances take a dive.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 6 months ago.
Dear Customer,I am very sorry to learn of this situation.While you were subject to a "notice to pay or quit" for failing to pay your rent on time (regardless as to your financial condition), the landlord did follow improper procedure, and conducted what is likely an "illegal eviction."Furthermore, if the landlord evicted you from the property, and is collecting rent (or is refusing to attempt to rent the unit to another tenant), they cannot collect rent from you (this includes reimbursing you for your deposit, and refraining from attempting to collect for any claimed damages). The landlord must make reasonable efforts to "mitigate their damages" by trying to lease the space to a new tenant.You can defend your rights on both of these issues by suing the landlord in small claims court for breach of contract - the court can award you "declaratory relief" (determining each parties' respective rights), and potentially awarding money damages. Short of filing a lawsuit, you can try to mediate the dispute with them - contact your local bar association and request referrals to mediators, a third party neutral can often help you reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Use the bar association's referrals to contact a mediator or two, the mediator will then contact the other party to set up a mediation session, and you can go from there - hopefully resulting in a formal or written settlement agreement, and save yourself the time and expense of litigation.

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