For 8 months tenant did not pay rent and utilities and was abusing utilities landlord was paying.
Finally the Sheriff posted Notice to Vacate ordering tenant to vacate on the 1st of the month. But because sheriff schedule is tight actual lockout date is scheduled for another week. Can landlord shut off water gas electric to prevent further damage after the 1st of the month or date indicated in the Notice to Vacate?
No. A landlord cannot shut off utilities prior to tenants actually be evicted by the sheriff. Shutting off the utility's would constitute illegal self help and violate Civil Code 789.3 exposing you claims for actual damages, statutory damages of $100 per day and attorney's fees.
I would say no, the landlord cannot turn off the tenant's utilities until the sheriff actually performs the lockout. My rationale is that only the sheriff can enforce a writ of possession. Given the penalties under Section 789.3 of the CA Code of Civil Procedure, I think it would be too risky for a landlord to shut off the utilities a week early.
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.
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