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socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 39187
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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The question i have is related to tenant's end of rent

Customer Question

the question i have is related to tenant's end of rent agreement. My rental unit is developing mold in the ceiling and in the closets due to humidity.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: the property is located in california. the house was built in 1950 and has no insulation or drainage so water accumulates in the basement and the lack of insulation facilitates the mold growth. Tenants decided to move away because they have a 1 year old baby and were concerned with the mold developing in the cabinet drawers and close.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: **and closet
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: i don't think so, how can i find out? the tenant moved out today, and they wanted the full deposit back by tomorrow , otherwise they would take me to court
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  socrateaser replied 4 months ago.

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I am a member of the State Bar of California, the Bar of the U.S. District and Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California (San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside Counties), the Bar of the U.S. Tax Court, the California and National Associations of Realtors, and I have comprehensive information about all areas of California law.

A landlord has 21 days from the date that the tenant vacates the property to refund the security deposit. However, if the tenant owes rent, because the tenant has vacated without providing 30-days notice -- or, if a fixed-term lease, then before the lease end date, then the landlord does not have to refund the deposit, if the unpaid rent exceeds the security deposit amount.

The tenant would have to prove that the rental unit was untentantable as of the date that the tenant vacated the property, in order to recover the security deposit. The presence of mold, may or may not be sufficient cause. In my opinion, however, it's not the mold, itself that is in play, but rather the water in the basement. The tenant is entitled to live in an environment free of standing water, because there are other water-born illnesses that are more serious than mold, which can negatively affect the tenant's health.

That said, it remains the tenant's burden to prove in court that the rental was untenantable. Otherwise, the court will not order a refund of the security.

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