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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: CA Real Estate
Satisfied Customers: 187
Experience:  I have nearly three decades of legal experience, including Real Estate Law, and have held a Real Estate Broker's License.
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I own a townhouse in California that I rent (to a lawyer).

Customer Question

I own a townhouse in California that I rent (to a lawyer). We recently had a dispute where he requested some rent to be refunded. We have agreed on an amount, and a date on which he will vacate the apartment. For my part, I will return his security deposit
and an additional agreed upon amount. On his part, he will vacate the apartment on the specified date. He requested that we agree in email. However, I would like a signed agreement that protects me in the following ways: 1)- I want protection against any future
wrongful eviction claims, 2)- protection against any monetary claims for his alleged "loss of enjoyment" of the apt, 3)- I want to maintain my right to seek compensation if there are damages to the apt (he claims it's fine, but I haven't seen/inspected it).
Could someone help me with the wording, and on how the agreement should be executed. I live in NJ and the apt is in CA. I can email the agreement a signed agreement and ask him to counter-sign and fax/email it back to me. Is this enough? Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: CA Real Estate
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question, What you are looking for is commonly referred to as a "Mutual Release Agreement". I doubt that the tenant will be amenable to signing this if you do not also release him from any liability. While I completely understand your reasoning in not wanting to release him from liability because of any damage he might have done to the property during his tenancy, it is common practice that the landlord and the tenant do a "Final Walk through" together at the termination of the tenancy. I understand that living in New Jersey makes it physically impossible to conduct this "Walk through" with the tenant, but I wanted to address this issue so that if the tenant insists on mutual releases, you will understand why he would be insisting on the mutual release. However, if you use certain language to retain your rights, the tenant might not be too reluctant to accept the language. If you have photographs of the property that you took when the tenant first took possession of the property, you could soften the language by saying something like,

"...Lessor and Lessee hereby agree that the demised premises in the photographs attached hereto, made a part hereof, and designated Exhibit "A", Exhibit "B", and Exhibit "C", (and so on), accurately depict the demised premises and the condition and state thereof at the commencement of the lease term. Lessee hereby warrants and represents that the demised premises are in the identical condition and state at the time that Lessee vacated the property, ordinary wear and tear, excepted..."

JustAnswer's platform is Answering questions, but it has introduced a new service which it offers to customers who need assistance with drafting documents or agreements. I can send you JustAnswer's "Offer of Additional Services" and I can assist you in drafting the Release and Protection that you are looking for. There is no obligation and you are free to accept or reject this offer, Okay ?

If I have Answered your question, please be kind enough to leave a Positive rating for my Answer. You have already placed a deposit with JustAnswer, so leaving a positive rating will not cost you anything additional, but this is the only way that JustAnswer will give me credit for assisting you. Thank you for understanding.

Positive Feedback and Bonus are very much appreciated,

Kindest Regards,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi. Thanks for responding to my question, but your response doesn't really address the information that I was looking for. I was looking for suggested text for the agreement, and whether signed/counter-signed and faxed back to me is good enough. Thanks anyway.
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Please accept my apologies, With respect to the execution of the agreement, I would suggest that you send the tenant 2 originals so that he can sign both, return them to you. You would then keep one for your records and return one to the tenant. This way, both of you will have an agreement with original signatures, rather than faxed copies.

You requested suggested text for the provisions you require in order to protect yourself, JustAnswer does not have a law library, or sample agreements. I would have to draft these provisions for you just as I drafted the paragraph relating to the condition in which the tenant would return the property to you when he vacates the property . The paragraph which I included in my first Answer (in italics) regarding the condition of the leased premises in which the tenant will return the property to you is something that I drafted specifically for you and included in my previous Answer, it did not come from a book or a form. And, this is what I would do regarding the other provisions you requested in order to protect yourself. That is why I asked you if you would like me to send you JustAnswer's "Offer for Additional Services". JustAnswer does not allow us to draft anything for customers unless it is within the scope of the "Additional Services" feature. If I do not follow JustAnswer's site rules, I will be subject to reprimand, so I hope you understand my position and why I must adhere to JustAnswer's rules.

Kindest Regards,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, thanks for your response. I don't think I will need the additional services. I may have misunderstood what information would be provided in response to my question.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.


Your previous expert has opted out and I have opted in. Did you still need help, or did you wish to close the question?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, I don't think I need any additional help with this. How can I close the question?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

I'll take care of that for you. Have a good day.