I am a travel nurse who rented a room from a woman who turned out to be a frequent patient at the hospital I work at. We met via a FB group. There was no written contract. Due to circumstances described below, I moved out without giving her the 30 day notice. She kept the rest of my month's rent and my deposit, even after I gave her cash for having her cleaning lady clean my room. I have reasons why I moved out without giving notice ( conflict of interest as in nurse-frequent patient at the same hospital). She also spent time on the phone talking about "my nurses" (including what time we left her house or came back, what we did on days off, etc). Then, she gave a different nurse a one day notice to move, as she felt that nurse was too negative of a person to live with. Finally, the house temperature became an issue. I could not sleep in a hot bedroom - I offered to pay for a window AC to no avail. My experience with her is that she would have retaliated in some way had I given her30 days notice. What can I do to get my money back?
If you moved out without first providing a 30 day written notice to terminate the month to month tenancy, she could apply the security deposit to pay for one month's rent pursuant to California Civil Code section 1950.5. However, she was nevetheless obligated within 21 days after you moved out to provide you with an itemization as to how the security deposit was used. Under California Civil Code section 1950.5, within 21 calendar days after a tenant moves out, the landlord must either send a full refund of the security deposit, or mail or personally deliver to the tenant an itemized statement that lists the amounts of any deductions from the security deposit and the reasons for the deductions, together with a refund of any amounts not deducted. According to the California Supreme Court decision in the case of Granberry v. Islay Investments (1995) 9 Cal.4th 738, 745, after the 21 days have transpired, the landlord loses the right to keep any of the security deposit and must return the entire deposit to the tenant. Therefore, the answer to your question is yes, you can sue, but winning is not a sure thing.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should be construed as legal advice for any particular case or client. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney. This posting is not intended to constitute an advertisement nor a solicitation.
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