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I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

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  • I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

    Hi -- I needed to break my 1-year lease about 6 months early. I gave the landlord 30 days notice and asked them to start showing my place -- I don't want to have to pay any more rent after I move out, and if they start showing it now, they can find someone.

    So I checked under California law and it says they have to attempt to limit their losses and get the place re-rented.

    But -- they refuse to show the place.

    So I'm assuming that they won't give the deposit back, since they told me "we're not going to show it until you have actually moved out."

    So I'm going to sue them in Small Claims -- because even though I realize I *did* break my lease, I actually gave them a 30-day notice so I'll tell the judge "I gave them 30 days notice and they could have found somebody, and they didn't even try, so I deserve my deposit back."

    I'm pretty sure I'm right about this, and again this is in California -- or am I missing something? Is there something else I should do to get my deposit back? They already told me "we're not going to show your place until you actually move out".

  • #2
    Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

    Originally posted by RenterByChoice View Post
    Hi -- I needed to break my 1-year lease about 6 months early. I gave the landlord 30 days notice and asked them to start showing my place -- I don't want to have to pay any more rent after I move out, and if they start showing it now, they can find someone.

    So I checked under California law and it says they have to attempt to limit their losses and get the place re-rented.

    But -- they refuse to show the place.

    So I'm assuming that they won't give the deposit back, since they told me "we're not going to show it until you have actually moved out."

    So I'm going to sue them in Small Claims -- because even though I realize I *did* break my lease, I actually gave them a 30-day notice so I'll tell the judge "I gave them 30 days notice and they could have found somebody, and they didn't even try, so I deserve my deposit back."

    I'm pretty sure I'm right about this, and again this is in California -- or am I missing something? Is there something else I should do to get my deposit back? They already told me "we're not going to show your place until you actually move out".
    You are right in that CA law assigns a duty to a LL to mitigate their damages when a tenant terminates their lease early by making reasonable efforts to re-rent. Otherwise, you can be held liable for rent until a new tenant is found to replace you, or until the end of the lease, whichever occurs first.

    The problem here is that you haven't broken the lease yet. You haven't moved out. The LL has no obligation to try to find a replacement tenant until AFTER you've broken the lease and actually moved out, because that's when their loss begins. In addition, the LL has 21 days from the day you actually vacate the premises before they are obligated to dispose of the security deposit by mailing you an itemized list of deductions along with a refund of any unused funds. Since you currently have no losses, your plan to file a small claims case to recover the security deposit money is premature.

    I'm sure that you have your reasons for wanting or NEEDING to have the full security deposit returned to you. Unfortunately, legally speaking, the LL isn't obligated to move at your pace to ensure that happens. If you want to speed things along, there's no reason that YOU can't start advertising the place for rent and have candidates already lined up for them to screen.
    "If it ain't in writing, it never happened."
    "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
    "You can never make the same mistake twice, because the second time you make it, it's not a mistake, but a CHOICE."

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

      Thanks, I already thought that part "they haven't had any lost rent yet" I thought that through. It doesn't matter because they *know*, *in advance* that they *will have losses* starting in 30 days -- when I told them my last day was.

      They should plan accordingly and re-rent now because if they try to say that in court, I'm going to point out "they knew a month before I moved out when their lost rent would begin and they failed to act to prevent a loss, and that's not my fault."

      I already thought this through.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

        Originally posted by RenterByChoice View Post
        Thanks, I already thought that part "they haven't had any lost rent yet" I thought that through. It doesn't matter because they *know*, *in advance* that they *will have losses* starting in 30 days -- when I told them my last day was.

        They should plan accordingly and re-rent now because if they try to say that in court, I'm going to point out "they knew a month before I moved out when their lost rent would begin and they failed to act to prevent a loss, and that's not my fault."

        I already thought this through.
        The courts are not going to award you damages until you actually have them. You don't have them until after you've moved out. They can't award you damages for something that MIGHT happen, but only for something that HAS happened.

        The LL hasn't failed to act to prevent a loss. For all they know, you are going to remain in the property beyond the 30 day notice period you've given, and they can't rent out a property for which they do not have the right of possession.

        Sorry, but what you want to happen isn't going to happen. You'll just have to be a little more patient.
        "If it ain't in writing, it never happened."
        "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
        "You can never make the same mistake twice, because the second time you make it, it's not a mistake, but a CHOICE."

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

          Nice theory, unfortunately, I do not think it will get you any traction.
          Due to a recent promotion, I should now be referred to as Major Obvious.

          I would not be trying to provide information and knowledge if I did not sympathize.

          Some days it is just not worth chewing through the restraints to face life.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

            Hi -- I'm planning on waiting until a month past my move-out day -- that gives the landlord even more time than the 21 days per California law they're required to refund my deposit.

            I apologize for not making it clear, I have planned to wait for at least 21 days *after* my final day at the apartment. If, by the 21 days, they write to me and say "since you moved out before your lease we're seeking a new renter. We're applying your deposit to the unpaid rent."

            If they try it, that's when I'll file in small claims court.

            Won't the judge most likely tell the landlord "you cannot sit there and say 'you didn't know for sure if she would actually move' when #1, she gave you 30 days notice, and #2 she did in fact move out? Mr. Landlord I'm not going to accept that. She #1 gave you 30 days notice, and #2 she followed through. You had those 30 days to find a new tenant and you sat on your duff and did nothing.'

            So then the judge will award me 3 times the deposit, right?
            Because #1 I told them today I'm leaving in 30 days, and then they said "we're not obligated to show your apartment and we're not going to" -- they didn't even mention this possession stuff at all. They just said

            "You're on a lease. We're holding you to that lease. We're not going to show your apartment."

            Out of spite! I just think a reasonable judge will agree with me.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

              Originally posted by RenterByChoice View Post
              Hi -- I'm planning on waiting until a month past my move-out day -- that gives the landlord even more time than the 21 days per California law they're required to refund my deposit.

              I apologize for not making it clear, I have planned to wait for at least 21 days *after* my final day at the apartment. If, by the 21 days, they write to me and say "since you moved out before your lease we're seeking a new renter. We're applying your deposit to the unpaid rent."

              If they try it, that's when I'll file in small claims court.

              Won't the judge most likely tell the landlord "you cannot sit there and say 'you didn't know for sure if she would actually move' when #1, she gave you 30 days notice, and #2 she did in fact move out? Mr. Landlord I'm not going to accept that. She #1 gave you 30 days notice, and #2 she followed through. You had those 30 days to find a new tenant and you sat on your duff and did nothing.'

              So then the judge will award me 3 times the deposit, right?
              Because #1 I told them today I'm leaving in 30 days, and then they said "we're not obligated to show your apartment and we're not going to" -- they didn't even mention this possession stuff at all. They just said

              "You're on a lease. We're holding you to that lease. We're not going to show your apartment."

              Out of spite! I just think a reasonable judge will agree with me.
              The fact that the LL chose not to act on an anticipatory breach is not a cause of action. Once you've vacated, then and only then are they even obligated to start looking for your replacement. Hopefully, they will have found a new tenant by the end of that 21-day timeframe they have to return your security deposit, but even if they haven't, that's not going to get you the bad faith penalty. It's NOT illegal for them to refuse to show the property until you've actually vacated, and it's not bad faith unless the LL did something wrong.

              I don't think that the LL is acting out of spite, nor do I believe that a reasonable judge will agree with you. Disagreeing with you doesn't equate to spite. The LL could just as easily consider a lawsuit filed for this reason spiteful, filed because they failed to acquiesce to YOUR unreasonable demands. But you just go ahead and plan ahead for your lawsuit. Please do come back and update us once you've gone to court over this issue to let us know how things turned out for you.
              "If it ain't in writing, it never happened."
              "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
              "You can never make the same mistake twice, because the second time you make it, it's not a mistake, but a CHOICE."

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

                Okay, but I hope I'm right. I talked an attorney before I did all this, and they said "even though the lease says 'We will not accept a 30 day notice until the final month of the lease term' that lawyer told me 'go ahead and give them the 30 day notice now anyway, and if they don't re-rent it and try to keep your deposit or charge you more rent' --

                -- that lawyer told me to then sue them in small claims so now I don't know who to believe unless you're not a lawyer. Are you a lawyer too?

                I'm just going on advice that lawyer gave me.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

                  Originally posted by RenterByChoice View Post
                  Okay, but I hope I'm right. I talked an attorney before I did all this, and they said "even though the lease says 'We will not accept a 30 day notice until the final month of the lease term' that lawyer told me 'go ahead and give them the 30 day notice now anyway, and if they don't re-rent it and try to keep your deposit or charge you more rent' --

                  -- that lawyer told me to then sue them in small claims so now I don't know who to believe unless you're not a lawyer. Are you a lawyer too?

                  I'm just going on advice that lawyer gave me.
                  No, I am not an attorney, but I have done significant research and have experience in these types of situations.

                  When you say that the LL won't accept a 30-day notice until the final month of the lease term, that's correct. It really doesn't matter if you give them that 30-day notice in the middle of a fixed-term lease. You are STILL obligated to satisfy the terms of the lease until they expire, with the exception being that if you abandon the lease, you will still be held liable for rent under the lease until a replacement is found, or until the end of the lease, whichever occurs first.

                  What the attorney means is that if the LL fails to make a reasonable attempt to re-rent AFTER you've abandoned the lease and tries to charge you rent for the entire remainder of the lease, THEN you can use mitigation as a defense to why you shouldn't have to. The LL cannot simply refuse to look for a new tenant and cash in on the rent until the lease expires. They also cannot keep your security deposit solely due to the fact that you broke the lease, because the LL hasn't yet been damaged from loss of rent. In those situations, depending on how long prior to the end of the lease you are abandoning it, the judge may only order you to pay rent for the period that it should REASONABLY take for the LL to re-rent the unit. That doesn't mean that you can demand that the LL start looking for that replacement tenant before you even move out and abandon the lease.
                  "If it ain't in writing, it never happened."
                  "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
                  "You can never make the same mistake twice, because the second time you make it, it's not a mistake, but a CHOICE."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

                    So, if you give an early 30 day notice and leave, at that point they are obligated to prepare and attempt to rent the unit. Please note, if you are in a complex, a general complex ad is sufficient. They are not required to steer a prospective tenant to your former unit. The tenant can select from units available that are presented.
                    Due to a recent promotion, I should now be referred to as Major Obvious.

                    I would not be trying to provide information and knowledge if I did not sympathize.

                    Some days it is just not worth chewing through the restraints to face life.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

                      That was another thing they tried to use an excuse, "we have several other units vacant and theres no guarantee how long it will take to rent yours again" but I think by California law they have to right away try to re-rent my unit, I think that's what I read, they have to basically focus on cutting their loss and rent mine first


                      That is just the law in California

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

                        They do not have to push your unit, but rather merely present it as available .

                        If the complex has a lot of available units currently, then it may take some months for it to rent. As long as it isn't outside typical time frames for the area, the judge won't take issue with it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

                          Originally posted by RenterByChoice View Post
                          That was another thing they tried to use an excuse, "we have several other units vacant and theres no guarantee how long it will take to rent yours again" but I think by California law they have to right away try to re-rent my unit, I think that's what I read, they have to basically focus on cutting their loss and rent mine first


                          That is just the law in California
                          Originally posted by 130smartchick View Post
                          They do not have to push your unit, but rather merely present it as available .

                          If the complex has a lot of available units currently, then it may take some months for it to rent. As long as it isn't outside typical time frames for the area, the judge won't take issue with it.
                          This is correct.

                          Yes, the LL is required to make reasonable efforts to re-rent the unit as soon as possible after it's vacated, in order to mitigate the potential loss of rent from the unplanned vacancy. The LL is obligated to advertise the apartment as available for rent, but they are not obligated to prioritize your specific unit over other available units that meet a prospective new renter's wants or needs.
                          "If it ain't in writing, it never happened."
                          "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
                          "You can never make the same mistake twice, because the second time you make it, it's not a mistake, but a CHOICE."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

                            You sound like a big baby.

                            You are breaking the lease and now you're crying boo hoo and threatening to take people to court.

                            Wake up and smell the coffee.

                            The landlord can actually hold you to the term of the lease and collect money from you. They are under no obligation to get it rented ASAP. You don't seem to understand that. Just because you give notice, doesn't mean everyone kowtows to you.

                            They do NOT have to rent yours first.

                            You'd best get your ducks in a row because you could be on the hook for lots of legal problems, all of your own making.

                            It's normal to wait until a tenant leaves in order to show the place to potential applicants. After you move out, I'm sure there are a number of things to be done to bring the place up to sparkling clean and ready to rent.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: I broke the lease, gave 30 day notice, want deposit back, in California

                              Oh, a tenant with entitlement issues! Must be a trust fund baby.

                              Just because you WANT it and THINK you're in the right, doesn't mean you will get it, or that you are right at all. You poor thing!

                              You DO have an attitude that shows a privileged sense of self. How's that working for ya!

                              Read the other responses and LEARN something from it. You have the gall to come here, ask for advice, and then poo-poo it because you don't know if we're lawyers. You are some piece of work.

                              Get this--when you sign a legal document, you are legally obligated to uphold the terms of that document, or face the consequences of your actions. Don't be an ignoramus.

                              Comment

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