First, you do not need to move out in 24 hours. You must vacate the premises 3 days after you are properly served with notice. Breaching the lease by ignoring (presumably) your covenants not to sublet or to paint the property would be grounds for the landlord to serve you with a 3-day notice to quit. If you intend to move out, you do not need to reply to the 3-day notice. However, if you neglect or fail to move out, you will likely be served with a summons and complaint for unlawful detainer. At that point you must respond to the action taken against you.
Once possession is no longer an issue, i.e., you vacate the premises, your landlord has 21 days to return that portion of your security deposit which is remaining after valid, lawful deductions. If your landlord fails to return the deposit and has no legal grounds to retain the deposit, in whole or in part, you may bring a small claims action against him or her for unlawful retention of the security deposit.
I do not believe the tree issue is as relevant as you may think it is, but I will let my colleagues address that if I am incorrect.
You may want to confer with a real estate attorney in your area before making any decisions. There are a lot of minor legal issues here and you should fully understand your rights and liabilities choosing a course of action. Avvo responses are never comprehensive enough to fully brief you on the matter.
To schedule an appointment for an attorney-client privileged consultation, contact me at 530-231-4949. This response is not intended, nor should it be construed as legal advice. Any information provided is for educational purposes only. The exchange of communications through Avvo.com and similar social media does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me or my office. Thank you.
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