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Christopher B, Esq
Christopher B, Esq, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 2677
Experience:  Litigation Attorney
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We had tenants for 6 years in our granny flat on our

Customer Question

We had tenants for 6 years in our granny flat on our property. We gave them a 60 day notice to vacate as we have need for the house. The notice, dated Sept. 1st asked them to vacate by October 31st. They chose to move out by September 30, but did not notify us that that was their plan. When they did finally tell us, my husband asked them for move out notice in writing. We never got such a notice. They moved out 30 days early and apparently lied to their new landlord and were eventually asked to leave the new place. Once we got into the house there were many repairs including replacing the carpet and pad urine soaked and damaged by the dog they got without first getting permission. The house was not cleaned. There was damage to the doors and walls. The cost of the repairs exceeded $1800. The security deposit was $1100. We sent them an itemized letter informing them that the house needed extensive repairs to bring it up to the way it was before they moved in and that they would not receive any money back. We then got a certified lett from them stating that per civil code 1950.5 we had 21 days to refund their deposit or give them an itemized statement with receipts. Since we did not receive anything from them stating they were moving out early, doesn't the Oct. 31st date stand? Technically couldn't we also have asked for the Oct. rent?
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: California
JA: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?
Customer: They were to keep the house in good shape. My husband made repairs when needed on toilet for example.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No, I think that's it.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 month ago.

My name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today. Thank you for your question and thank you for using justanswer.com. Give me a but and I will draft you an answer.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
What is your answer?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
No email is fine. Thank you.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 month ago.

Yes, they are not considered moved out until they return they keys and vacate the property. If this was not done and you had no notice that they had "moved out" then the October 31 day would be in effect or any day prior that you had proper notice that they had officially moved out. Moving out is when they no longer have access to the property. If this was never done (return the keys or give proper notice that they had moved out) then you had no reason to know that they vacated the property and thus the court would take into account the proper move out day which would have been the 31st. The tenant will need to have evidence that they returned the keys and vacated the property with proper notice to assert the defense that you did not itemize your damage amounts in the statutory time allotted.

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Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The house is behind our house so we knew that they moved out, except they continued to come and clear stuff out of storage. He was supposed to return his set of keys but he never did. What about not giving us written notice?
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 month ago.

Until he returns his set of keys then he is not moved out. Written notice would also suffice but if the tenant still has access to the house, he would still be considered the tenant. By not returning the keys or giving written notice, they did not relinquish control of the property. Especially considering the fact that they continued to enter the property. Without this formality they should not be able to claim that their move out date was earlier. You did not ever get the keys so until you entered the property and changed the locks, they would technically still be a tenant and would owe rent.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The wife turned her keys in when they physically moved the furniture, but the husband was supposed to bring us his set of keys, but he never did. As a result we changed the locks on both the screen door and the front door when we made repairs.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 month ago.

I would still think that without the keys being turned in, that they had fully been moved out. It will be up to the Judge and he will have to weigh the evidence. I can really give you no concrete answer except that they would be considered to be moved out when they gave up physical possession of the property. There is a decent argument that if they turned in a set of keys and still was to turn in another set and they were still in and out of the property that they had not yet given up possession. Again this will be a question of fact for the Judge.

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Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 16 days ago.

Just checking back in, do you have any further questions?

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