They had the utilities shut off, did not return the keys, I have tried to reach them to set up a time for a walk thru to determine the possible return of thier deposit based on the condition of the property, they have not returned my calls. What are my rights as the landlord?
Personal Injury Lawyer
When tenants abandon a home the landlord has a right of entry pursuant to CA Civil Code Section 1954. However to recover legal possession through abandonment the procedure stated in CCC Section 1951.3 must be followed. For that I recommend consulting with an attorney.
-Michael R. Juarez Law Office of Juarez and Schaeffer PO Box 16216 San Diego, CA 92105 (619) 804-4327 www.jslaw.org Mike@jslaw.org This posting is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice." Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different jurisdictions.
Real Estate Attorney
If the tenants have truly abandoned the premises, you may enter it. But if you only think they abandoned it and you are wrong, you could face some serious consequences. Section 1951.3 establishes a procedure whereby the landlord can make sure that the tenants have abandoned.
Note that section 1951.3 requires that the tenants be in default in payment of rent for at least 14 days.
Criminal Defense Attorney
Agreed. It is difficult to say that they have abandoned the property if they are current with their rent and still have possession under your contract.
Thomas A. Schaeffer, Esq. Law Office of Juarez and Schaeffer PO Box 16216, San Diego, CA 92105 (619) 804-4327 www.jslaw.org This posting is provided for "informational purposes" only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice." Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principals discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different States.
Personal Injury Lawyer
Since they have not contacted you to formally announce they have vacated, they still have exclusive rights to the unit. Send a letter to their last known address (i.e. the unit they were renting from you) advising them of their right to a pre-move out inspection since that is your obligation. If they do not take you up on that, you are protected when you decide to deduct repair expenses, etc., from the security deposit. After the 30 days are up, since they gave you written notice they would be gone by then, should be able to enter and inspect the property. I would recommend that you take a witness with you and prepare to photograph and videotape the condition of the unit.