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Is a verbal agreement and text message a legal agreement to…

Customer Question
Is a verbal agreement...

Is a verbal agreement and text message a legal agreement to lease an apartment. The tenant has moved in early, agreed to sign the lease before the first of the month but has now decided to renig. I had other renters interested but went by his text agreement.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?

I am in CA

Lawyer's Assistant: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?

No. He was just to pay utilities such as electric and cable.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I think that’s it

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Legal
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
It was to be a one year lease. I was waiving security deposit and last month rent. He agreed on multiple occasions and once he got all his furniture moved in he said he changed his mind. He owes me $2000 for first months rent.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I do have multiple text messages confirming this agreement.
Answered in 9 minutes by:
3/27/2018
Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 3 months ago
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 42,575
Experience: 17 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
Verified

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

.

Did the tenant ever actually sign a written paper lease contract? or only send a text and promise to?

.

Are you saying you let them move in without paying a deposit and first month's rent?

.

.

thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
No lease was actually signed...it was going to be signed on Friday for start date of April 1. I allowed him to move in early with no deposit. He is a “friend” and i was trying to help him out. I had other renters i turned away.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
There were multiple verbal agreements and several very explicit text messages stating his agreement.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Am i still connected?
Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 3 months ago

Ok, then legally all there is is an oral month to month tenancy that either party could terminate with a written 30 day notice if there was never a signed paper lease..

.

.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
he would owe me for one month?
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
he would have to give me a written notice that he was moving in 30 days?
Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 3 months ago

But if he hasn't paid the rent, you can give him a written 3 day notice to pay or vacate and then file a formal eviction through the courts to get a judgment and a writ that the sheriff will execute to force him to vacate..

.

And yes, he would owe for a total of one month if the agreement was supposed to start on April 1 if that is when rent was due and he doesn't pay..

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
He is willing to move out...but is refusing to pay for the month. But as i understand it, he is at least obligated to pay rent for the one month.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
this is the law in California? Is this a case that would hold up in small claims court? The total amount is $2000
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Are the text messages submittable in court...i have several stating his intent to move in and pay.
Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 3 months ago

That is correct. The minimum time is one month, unless you rent it sooner than that as you can't double charge... him and a new tenant... for the same time period. So if he moves out the first week of April and you rent it immediately after that, you can only charge him for a week because you will be paid for the remaining 3 weeks.

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But if he causes any damages or leaves the place dirty when you finally get him out, you can sue him for any costs of cleaning or repairs in small claims court.

.

And yes, this is CA law... it wouldn't be very useful to get the law from a different state... and small claims goes up to $10,000 and you don't need an attorney..

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Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 3 months ago

And yes, the texts are admissible in court to prove the agreement for a month to month tenancy.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Do i need to notify him in writing with notarization that i will be taking him to small claims court?
Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 3 months ago

No, and it is probably better not to tell him you are suing him because he may disappear... Just go file in small claims court and have the sheriff serve him the summons before he leaves..

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It was my pleasure to work with you and help with your question. If you ever need me in the future, you can post a new question with "For Barrister" in the title and the JustAnswer employees will get it to me.

.

If you feel I have answered all your questions, I would very much appreciate a 5 star rating by clicking on the rating scale on your screen as that is the only way I receive credit for my work.

.

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Thanks much

Barrister

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Lawyer: Barrister, Attorney replied 3 months ago

Hello again,

.

I just wanted to touch base with you and check in.

.

Did you have any further questions I can help with?

.

.

Thanks much

Barrister

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