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Lucy, Esq.
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Civil Code Section 1950.5 (f) (1). The landlord is not required

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Civil Code Section 1950.5 (f) (1). The landlord is not required to perform and initial inspection at moving out if the landlord has served the tenant with a three day notice because the tenant has not paid rent.
My tenant gave me a 30 days notice to move on June 29th 2011 and used her security deposit as last months rent when the rental agreement stated that it may not be used in lieu of last months rent.. I did serve her a 3 day notice to pay or quit but never filed an unlawful detainer because of the cost.
Now she wants a written inspection before she hand over the keys ( she had changed the locks so this maybe the only way of getting the keys). Do I have to give her this move out inspection?
Can I call a locksmith to handle the lock situation (rental agreement says she shall immediately deliver copies of all keys if she re-keys the locks) or would this violate our rental agreement by entering the unit with out prior written notice. If it would violate the agreement when can I enter the unit and change the locks? She (the tenant) has transferred The Gas Company service back into my name however, the power is still in her name. Los Angeles, CA

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

What that statute says is that the notice is not required when the tenancy is being terminated by a three day notice. It doesn't sound like that's actually why this tenancy is being terminated - it sounds like she decided to move, and, even though you served her with the notice, you're not going to actually have her evicted. In that case, you would still do an inspection. California law strongly favors the tenant, and the penalties to a landlord who violates can be pretty stiff, so, it's better to comply if there's any question whether you should. You don't want to end up in front of a judge with a different interpretation of the statute.

As far as the keys go, you could serve her with a three day notice to give you copies of the keys or move out immediately (noting that you will charge her to change the locks, since she violated the lease). Unfortunately, you're not allowed to simply call a locksmith to enter while she's still living there, unless you give her notice that you're coming in to do necessary maintenance and/or repairs. So, it's better to try to get the keys from her first. If she won't give them to you, you would usually wait to have them changed until she moves, because otherwise, the law requires you to give her copies (in which case, she can just have them changed again... it's a vicious cycle).

Also, if she's living there and had the utilties transferred into your name, you can take her to small claims court for any amounts that you have to pay while she's living there.

Good luck.
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