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Do you have a security deposit for these people on the unit?
Did you do a walk through with them yet to determine what, if any damages that they are responsible for repairing or replacing either before they leave or by payment to you after they leave the unit?
I had taken a handyman there to look into some updating, the place looked fine, I would have to do some touch up painting and minor repairs. My main question is rent owed to me. I think if they paid until Nov 16th and move out Nov 16th then I dont think its fair as I dont have enough time to find renters and I would lose rent for the month. Am I not tecnhically entitled rent owed until the end of the contract which is April. I only asked for one month extra.
Hello again Reema -
My question above was geared toward the rent question you asked -- because if they paid you a security deposit then you are entitled under these circumstances to hold it for any rent that they may owe to you (that would be in the absence of any large repairs, in which case you would then hold the security deposit towards the owed rent and take them to small claims court to recover any damages that it costs you to repair anything that is beyond wear and tear after they leave). You see, they do owe you for the remainder of the months on the lease through April 2014 (they entered into a written contract with you and they are bound by contract and leasing laws to honor that contract and you have no obligations to let them out of the lease contract early in order to save them from having to pay the rent through the end of the lease period). The landlord tenant law requires only that a landlord "mitigate" his damages during the time period after the renter leaves the unit early -- and that mitigation means that you must get another tenant in there as soon as possible and give them a credit for the rent that the new tenant pays during any months that the new tenant is occupying the unit in the time period that was covered in the prior tenant's lease. Finally, CA landlord tenant law does require the tenant to grant reasonable access to the landlord for repairs, maintenance and showing the unit in the event that it is coming up for rental -- landlord is required to provide reasonable notice of any showings of the unit and the law typically holds that "reasonable" notice is about 24 hours before the unit is to be viewed by a potential new tenant.
So, the tenant actually owes you for all of the time period they stay in the unit AND for any time period after that where you are searching for a tenant to take over the unit after the abandonment of their lease contract and because they have not been particularly helpful in letting you show the unit, there are no landlord/tenant judges in the district courts that will give them one ounce of sympathy here if you decide that you want to charge them for any time after the day they vacate that the unit remains empty until you place another tenant in there.
My suggestion at this point is to make sure that you are getting a paper trail on all of these items and issues (to the extent that you can do so). You should send them a certified letter with a copy by regular mail (in case they do not sign for the certified letter - you can get proof of mailing the regular mail letter at the post office when you mail it - the post office will give you a stamped receipt that you mailed a letter to a certain address for an additional 90 cents on top of the stamp price) and inform them that despite their intentions of leaving the unit first on XXXX date, then later changed to XXXX date, and the various negotiations attempted between the parties prior to the date of this letter, you are obligated to pay rent under the terms of the written lease contract through the earlier of (a) April 16, 2014 or (b) until a new tenant takes over the lease arrangement at the same or a higher rent amount (in the event that a tenant moves in paying less rent, they are responsible for the difference in the two rent amounts through Aug 16, 2014 (their original rent amount less the amount the new tenant agrees to pay is the new monthly amount that the current tenants are responsible for). "Therefore, at this point I expect that the full rental amount will be paid through the date that the unit is vacated by you and up to and including the date when a new tenant takes up residence in the unit. Unfortunately, the amount of time required to re-let the unit is unknown to me at this time due to the fact that you would not permit me to enter the unit with prospective tenants at any time prior to the date of this letter -- however, if you are now willing to permit access for showing of the unit and minor repairs before you vacate the premises in order to facilitate the showings and the subsequent rental of the unit, I am happy to immediately advertise the unit so that the number of days vacant after you leave and the additional rent due for the time the unit is vacant after you leave, can be kept to a minimum amount. I am certainly willing to work with you within the bounds of California Landlord Tenant law and the written terms of your lease contract, which does not expire until April 16, 2014". Then, if they still refuse to pay through the date they live there and then the time period it takes you to rent out the unit, in the security deposit letter that you must send to them within 20 days after they leave, you must itemize any damages with estimates to repair the damages next to each item and then you can have a separate line item for the additional rent that they owe up to the date that you sent the letter to them. If the unit is still vacant through that date, then you should list that portion of the rent as part of the rent that they now owe to you. You then deduct any security deposit that they have from the total amount due and request that they pay to you any balance then outstanding between the repairs and the rent money due. If they fail to pay you within 30 days after you send the security deposit letter, then you can take the matter into CA small claims court (you can sue in small claims court for up to $10,500 and you can get the forms from the CA courts website by doing a search for California Courts Small Claims Action -- you do not need an attorney in small claims court and if you win a judgment against them you can ask the court to garnish wages and / or bank accounts in order for all outstanding amounts to be paid to you are paid to you). -
Now, you may think that this seems kind of harsh because they were there so long and are moving into the complex -- however, you should prepare and send the letters in accordance with the law. The first letter says (a) you owe us through the lease contract end date unless a new tenant can be found and (b) there will be a delay in getting a new tenant into the unit because you would not let us repair it or show it to anyone while you lived there. The second letter is the security deposit letter that you are required to send by law after they leave the unit. If they call you after they receive the first letter and you agree to something different than what the law permits and requires, then you need to put that in writing and ask the tenant to sign it also and that document will become a supplement to the original lease document (unless you get additional terms to any contract in writing, the court will not honor those terms -- any changes or modifications to any written agreement MUST be in writing and cannot be an oral contract because a court does not enforce oral amendments to written contracts -- no matter what everyone agrees to with a handshake.
I hope that all of this helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions. If not, can you please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for my time. I am paid NOTHING unless you press a positive rating below. Pressing the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as a trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time in assisting you today.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!
Thank you Mary, this is extremely helpful! I've been trying to be nice and let them end early without too much repercussion.
THey keep bringing up that they had the unit painted at their cost (2 years after they moved in; i had just repainted prior to them moving in) and other little things like replacing light ballots. Due I owe them this as well?
Hello again Reema --
This depends upon whether or not the place needed to be painted at that time. Paint is typically the responsibility of the landlord because it is a "normal wear and tear" item so if the paint was at a point that it needed to be painted then you were responsible for the repainting. However, If the unit was painted before they moved in then normal wear and tear on paint is anywhere from 5 to 10 years and the unit did not need to be painted two years after a full paint job had been done. If the matter goes to court you would win this point in front of the judge and they would not receive any compensation for the painting.
can you please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for my time. I am paid NOTHING unless you press a positive rating below. Pressing the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as a trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time in assisting you today.
The tenants feel that in our email trail, I let them off the hook for the lease. But I've never agreed to let them out of the lease in those words.I agreed to let them move out by a certain date so I would have time to update/rent it. They kept changing the date of move out and limiting my time to do so.
Is there a way someone can review my email trail to make sure I'm not missing anything? I want to make sure I am in the right before I go to court.
Hello again Reema --
This can be done for an additional separate fee -- but it is a matter of reviewing the lease and the emails and any other paperwork that you have regarding these matters so that I can get the larger picture (the lease) first. If you can scan the lease into an email (if it is not on your system already) and the emails and any other documentation that you have and getting them to me so I can take a quick look at the volume to let you know a cost (it shouldnt be much more than an additional one hundred dollars, but I can't tell you that with certainty until I see how large the pile of documents is (I can also review any letters that you write in the same manner). If you want to proceed , please send me everything as an attachment or attachments to an email to the following email address -- marymeaden at comcast . net -- and I can let you know a cost and what must be done in here or off the site to get you where you want to be with all of these matters. THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!
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