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Rental agreement question Security Deposit

Discussion in 'Rental Agreements & Subleases' started by Gary Zhang, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. Gary Zhang

    Gary Zhang Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    California
    Currently I am in CA and subleasing a room in a house from a tenant who rents it. When I moved in, I only filled out a form called rental application which showed my lease term for 6 months, and how much I paid in first months rent and the security deposit. It also has my personal and rental history information. I just wrote my name and dated. He has the original copy and I scanned a copy of it. But there was no actual lease agreement that was signed by both me and him. He only gave me back a signed receipt indicating how much I paid for rent and the deposit.

    I am going to be moving out once my lease ends late next month. My concern is what I can do if he does not want to give me back all or some of the security deposit after I move out, assuming there is no damages, etc. The reason I ask is because there was no actual lease agreement. Would I still be eligible to sue and win if he doesn't give it back?
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Yes, there was. A lease doesn't have to say lease on it to be a lease nor does it have to be multiple pages of legalese. You have a lease. It's a simple written agreement that you pay X dollars per month for 6 months plus a security deposit. You were smart to scan a copy.

    When you move out I suggest you photograph everything and make sure you leave your room squeaky clean.

    Absolutely.

    If he plays games with the security deposit you can sue him in small claims court.

    Here's the CA security deposit statute. Read it carefully.

    http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CIV&sectionNum=1950.5.
     
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  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You can do nothing. However, the small claims court judge can do much.

    If you and the landlord disagree about how much of the security deposit should be returned, all you can do is take the matter to court AFTER the refund has been made to you.

    By the way, there is a lease protecting you and the landlord.

    You are under a month to month tenancy, or tenancy at will.

    Search "statute of frauds" or look here: Statute of frauds for a detailed explanation as to WHY all arrangements regarding real estate MUST be in writing.

    The various state legislatures cured that issue by statute, to protect people like yoruself and your landlord.

    Tenancy at will: Tenancy at Will

    Good luck, mate.
     
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  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Referring, of course, to the landlord tenant statute which provides rights and remedies to the parties of unwritten rental agreements as well as written agreements.

    California's statute is at:

    http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...ision=3.&title=5.&part=4.&chapter=2.&article=
     
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  5. Gary Zhang

    Gary Zhang Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I have a follow up question now. I gave him my 1 month notice on May 1 to move out June 1. I pay full rent for May. He then texts me a few days later that he has a new tenant ready to move in any day of the month and he will refund me the prorated amount if I move out before June 1. I put my deposit down for a new place and tell them I will move in on May 18th. I also text him to confirm that he will refund me if I move out May 18 and he says yes. Today he says that the tenant now wants to move in on June 1 so he will not pay me back partial rent and expects me to stay until the end of the month like my contract says.

    I have a text from him saying he will pay me back on the 18th if I move out then. So my question is is he still required to follow through with this despite the contract?
     
  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure you can do a great many things, but suing him would be the obvious thing to do.

    The lack of a written lease agreement doesn't mean your landlord automatically gets to keep your security deposit. That would be absurd.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "despite the contract." You were obligated to pay and did pay rent through May 31 and were entitled to possession of the leased premises through that date. You and your landlord then agreed that you would move out and surrender possession on an earlier date (May 18) and that he would refund you 13/31 x whatever the monthly rent was. Your landlord has now repudiated that agreement. One possible option at this point would be to tell him that you will be moving on the agreed date and that you expect him to refund the agreed amount. After you move out and you see what happens with your security deposit, you can sue for any monies due but unpaid.
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Your current lease ends on 31 May.

    If you depart AFTER 31 May, you'll end up owing another month's rent, or a pro rata portion of your monthly rent for each day you stay in the unit AFTER 31 May.

    I suggest you plan to vacate your current abode completely no later than midnight on 31 May 2019.

    I also suggest you take pictures of the unit AFTER you've removed ALL of your property, and to be even safer, take a video of every room, panning slowly about the room while narrating exactly what sparling clean and pristine condition in which you left the unit.

    I'd then be sure to send the video and the pictures with your demand letter requesting the return of the deposit and where you wish the check to be sent.
     
  8. Gary Zhang

    Gary Zhang Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Are you saying that his written text is not good enough of evidence that he is supposed to refund me then? what if he had written a statement and signed it saying he would refund me if I move out on the 18th?

    I will take pictures and video. However, the carpet already had some small stains on it before I moved in. I didn't take detailed pictures of them before moving in, but that would be considered normal wear and tear according to what I read online. There is no damage to the room so I would expect the deposit to be refunded fully.

    Do I need to be there with him when he does the inspection? He said he was going inspect it after I move out, then refund it within 3-4 days. Although he is allowed up to 21 days I believe.
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If he allows you to be, that is the best way to do a walkthrough, noting any issues the moment they are spotted.

    I wasn't a judge in your state.
    In the two states where I was a judge, I wouldn't rely solely on text message or emails.

    Your state seems to allow text message, FakeBook posts, emails, and other social media "evidence".

    In the end, I'm a nobody in your state, so don't rely on what i say or other anonymous people say on the internet.

    You, and you alone, must prove your case, unless you hire a lawyer to assist you.

    What I am saying is gather as much proof as possible.

    I am also saying it wouldn't be wise to stay until the 1st of June, because most leases end on the last of the month.

    In May the last day is the 31st.

    Yes, in your state the landlord has 21 days to return your deposit.
     
  10. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure if you're addressing this question to me or one of the other persons who responded in this thread. I certainly wrote no such thing.

    I don't understand the point of this hypothetical question.

    If he's not going to inspect until after you move out, you have no right to be present (although you certainly could ask to be present). There is a provision in the landlord-tenant law that "adjusterjack" cited by which you can request a pre-move-out inspection, so you should look into that.

    Correct. 21 days after you turn over possession of the leased premises.
     
  11. Gary Zhang

    Gary Zhang Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Ok, my question now is how soon to give the letter requesting the return of security deposit to him? Would it be enough to hand it to him when I move out or email him? Do I need to wait until a few days after I have moved out and then send it to him via USPS Mail with delivery confirmation?

    Thanks.
     
  12. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    He's obligated to send you the refund no later than 21 days after termination and surrender of the premises so making any request for the refund prior to that would be superfluous.

    However, you should give him written notice of your new address as soon as possible.

    I suggest you carefully read the security deposit statute:

    2018 California Code :: Civil Code - CIV :: DIVISION 3 - OBLIGATIONS :: PART 4 - OBLIGATIONS ARISING FROM ICULAR TRANSACTIONS :: TITLE 5 - HIRING :: CHAPTER 2 - Hiring of Real Property :: Section 1950.5.
     
  13. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    You don't need to give your landlord a letter requesting the return of your deposit. That obligation exists as a matter of law and does not require a request on your part to trigger it. That said, in the past, when I have given notice to terminate a tenancy, I have included a request that the security deposit be returned in accordance with Civil Code 1950.5.
     
  14. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Your spam has been reported.
     
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