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Notice of right to inspection prior to termination of tenancy

Pleasanton, CA |

I moved out of my rental and did not ask for an inspection before I left. There were several things that the landlord deducted for repairs and cleaning, and so he took all my deposit. He never gave me a written notice of right to inspection after I gave him my 30 days notice. Does that give me a right to sue him for my deposit back, since the law says he has to give me written notice of my rights?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

Yes, the landlord did not comply with his/her statutory obligations. However, my follow-up comment is whether or not the deductions taken had merit?

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3 comments

Asker

Posted

I feel that most of the deductions were things that were legit, some though might be debatable. My problem is that had I been given proper notice, I would have scheduled a walk-thru and given myself a chance to do all the repairs myself and saved a bunch of money. What would likely happen if I were to sue?

Daniel Marc Bornstein

Daniel Marc Bornstein

Posted

Depends upon the small claims court judge. However, you should be able to establish a statutory violation which will give you a fair chance to succeed in the case.

Asker

Posted

One last question: the statute says notice of right to inspection must be given at a reasonable time after 30 days notice was given. What if there is some language in the rental agreement that talks about a right to request an inspection? Would that have any affect on how a judge decides the case? Thanks again!

Posted

You are entitled to an itemized list of the deductions. However, if the deductions ultimately had merit there may not be much point in proceeding. Mr. Bornstein and his firm are excellent in this area.

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6 comments

Asker

Posted

So you're saying regardless of whether or not the LL follows the civil code in providing pre-move out inspection notice, he can always deduct from the deposit as long as the deductions have merit?

Paul Bradley Schroeder

Paul Bradley Schroeder

Posted

The landlord has 21 days to inspect, deduct, and return the balance of the deposit. If he does not, he is to return the entire amount and sue you for damages. This rarely happens. As a practical matter, you will likely have to sue the landlord for return of the deposit. In that case, the landlord is entitled to a setoff for any damages to the unit (including cleaning), unless the landlord acted in bad faith.

Asker

Posted

My situation has nothing to do with the 21 day period. It has to do with me giving 30 days notice to vacate, and then the LL failing to give me "written option" of my right to request pre-move out inspection. So due to the LL failing to provide that, no inspection was ever performed in order to identify the things I would need to fix before I moved out. LL then performs repairs/cleaning and deducts entire deposit. I am contending that LL forfeited right to deposit by failing to follow CCC 1950.5 (f) (1).

Paul Bradley Schroeder

Paul Bradley Schroeder

Posted

Based on a few minutes of research, your appears to be an open question under California law. I would expect the failure to give you the required notice, combined with your testimony that you would have fixed the items identified and deducted for after you moved out, might sway a small claims judge in your favor. Additionally, if you can point out to the judge things you cleaned or repaired at the unit prior to move out in order to try and get your deposit back, that will help your claim. If you moved out and left the unit without cleaning it or attempting to repair other damage, the judge may choose not to believe you would have made repairs in advance of moving out had you been given a list by the landlord.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your excellent response!

Paul Bradley Schroeder

Paul Bradley Schroeder

Posted

You are welcome.

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