I have recently vacated an apartment on 31st May. My lease term require that I should give my Landlord in written 30 days advance notice of me vacating the apartment. I called my Landlord and also Text message him and provide notice 30 days in advance (but I didn't do it by certified mail). Now my Landlord cut 20 % of my deposit mentioning that I didn't provide him written notice 30 days in advance. Can I uses this text message as a proof in small claim court, providing evidence that I did provide 30 days advance notice.
Yes and no. Some magistrates allow the transcript of a text message in as admissible evidence. Others might require you to actually submit your phone into evidence. Our security deposit law says written notice, which is generally presumed to mean certified mail return receipt requested. That being said, there are new laws regarding the validity of authenticated electronic evidence. Consult an attorney for a consultation.
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If the lease permits actual notice by any form, and is not limited to certified mail notice, you can introduce the emails. These are technically hearsay, but are subject to the operative documents/facts exception. You might also get the landlord to admit that he received them making them subject to a business record exception (Does he conduct business correspondence by text or email? Does he due this in the ordinary course of his business? Does he keep these text messages on his phone?). Good luck!
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Attorney Trachten is correct, it could go either way depending on who the magistrate is. My guess, it's probably likely that I would come in since it's small claims court and the rules of evidence are pretty relaxed in that court. However, you should consult with an attorney to discuss.
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