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I rented an unpermitted guest house and the person left

Customer Question
I rented an unpermitted...

I rented an unpermitted guest house and the person left without paying 3 months rent and destroying the place. Do I have legal recourse?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

California

Lawyer's Assistant: Has any paperwork been filed?

I filed a small claims case.

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
11/30/2017
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 7 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,407
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
No. Waiting for a response.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Oh, that’s not a problem with the phone call. The system automatically asks if you want one, but there is no problem declining the request. One moment while I review your situation.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
No. I am fine with receiving your text response.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Great, thank you! Bear with me a moment while I review…

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Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Thanks so much for your patience. This appears to be a classic breach of contract if the person left without paying and destroyed the place. A breach of contract just simply means that one party was obligated to perform and they have either have not performed or have said that they will not perform. Typically, the aggrieved party is entitled to be returned to the same position they were in before the breach. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for advising of a breach of contract. It's a bit easier (and cheaper) than going through litigation and I have seen it be effective in the past. If this doesn’t work, sadly, the only other option is to either go through an informal mediation or file a lawsuit in your local court. This website is also pretty cool because they have some state-specific breach of contract forms that you can use as well. Click here to choose your state and get started. Keep in mind that if this place was unpermitted, then a judge may reduce the amount that you may be entitled to in proportion to what they believe would be fair considering it did not have a permit. Thus, for example, if the place did not have electricity, you'd have your award reduced considerably; however, if it had electricity, but it just wasn't permitted in general, then it is likely that your award would be reduced slightly. Only a CA judge would be able to say with any certainty. What other questions did you have for me today?

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