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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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My name is ***** *****. I owned a Rental Property in Orange

Customer Question

My name is ***** *****. Hi,I owned a Rental Property in Orange county Ca for many years.I was renting a house upstairs and downstairs as 2 separate 2br 2ba units with kitchens.City "busted" me ( illegal 2 unit ) and I gave them 60 days notice to tenants upstairs / downstairs to move. I'm instructed to remove the upstairs kitchen and rent the house as 1 unit ( 4br 4ba). But Upstairs Tenant is moving out early Feb 21 ( not Feb 29 ) and wants me to prorate the rent for a credit of 8 days. He has threatened legal action saying I knowingly rented a bootleg unit and that I am liable for all his expenses for moving and other costs. Also, in my lease, I had a clause of a rent increase of $65 utility bill which was never paid ( 17 months ~ 1100).Does tenant have the right to sue me for prorated rent and other costs such as moving ?
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: Tenants rented for 29 months, $1850 month with no rent increases, they enjoyed below market rents ( at least 200 mo ).
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

If the tenant gave you 30 days notice that they were vacating on the 21st, then they are entitled to the prorated amount.

If the tenant did not give you any notice, then you are not required to give any of the money back (the tenant can give notice to shorten the 60 days, but the end of the lease is still required to be terminated by advance notice).

Regarding the relocation expenses, in most cases, this is not going to be a recoverable expense. As long as the tenants were under a "month to month" (so after the end of the lease term) their lease can be terminated with only 60 days notice and no reason is required.

Regarding your rent increase clause, this is a more difficult issue as you have failed to enforce it for over a year (the tenant can easily argue this as "waiver"). You can try withholding this amount from the tenant's security deposit if you want, but given the nature of your situation, you can probably expect them to fight you on this, so weigh whether or not the withholding is worth defending the contract claim in small claims court.

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