When we sent the letter to our landlord indicating our intent to end tenancy, we requested an initial inspection no sooner than two weeks before our last day. We never received written notification of our right to initial inspection. When we called landlord to schedule it, we were informed that they never inspect until after the tenant moves out, because they cannot see everything if there are still personal belongings in the way. Is this legal?
No. The tenant's rights under Civil Code 1950.5 cannot be waived or altered for the landlord's convenience. You are entitled to an inspection before you move out, whether or not your personal property has been removed. Of course, if damage is hidden by personal belongings and not found during the inspection or otherwise noticed by you, then you will not have the opportunity to repair those items before you vacate.
No, personal belongings do not have to be removed before the initial inspection. I agree with Attorney Kane.
For a discussion regarding common issues on the topic of return of security deposits in California, see:
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.