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  1. #1
    Y_ME_HERE is offline Junior Member
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    What are my rights for changing the locks and taking my home back?

    California - We decided not to renew our tenants lease and sent them a certified letter stating that fact. They called us and said that since we weren't renewing the lease, they were moving out early and was only paying 1/2 the rent and to use the deposit for the rest. Although the letter stated that they needed to give us a 30-day notice and they could not use the deposit for the rents. They are gone, but will not give us the keys because they are stating that they paid thru the end of the month. Although they didn't give us a notice, didn't pay full rent & the letter informed them that they coudn't use the deposit for the rents. We need to go in and clean and would like for our new tenants to be able to move in, but the old tenants are trying to hold on to the keys, although they have nothing in the house. They moved water and waster, but not eletricity because they still owe them money. They left a small item in the garage & stated that they weren't sure if they wanted it or not. We have keys as well, but I just want my keys. What are our rights for changing the locks?
  2. #2
    Cvillecpm is offline Senior Member
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    Google * Abandonment of rental property in CA * they are gone and you can change the locks AFTER you have posted the property as abandoned AND followed those statutues to the letter of the law.

    Make sure you post the property and send the "mailed" copy REGULAR mail with Address Services Required under your return address - this way you can find them to serve them if you do not have enough money for rent and damages.

    If you live longer than an hour from the property, hire a professional property manager
  3. #3
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    The tenants have possession of the property until their lease ends.

    You have no right to summarily take possession, even if the tenants are not occupying the unit

    It is true that the tenants had no right to apply security deposit as rent

    BUT

    Evicting tenants who have already left with scant DAYS remaining on the lease is a foolish waste

    Use the security deposit for the rent.

    If the damages exceed the remaining deposit, then follow proceed to (including suing) to recover the amount that exceeds the balance.

    If the tenants refuse to return the keys, add the cost of RE-KEYING to the tenant's bill for damages.

    I have NO IDEA why you believe that you are entitle to seize the rental unit DURING THE LEASE TERM, for no reason other tan you own convenience to
    clean and ready the unit for a new tenant.

    Getting the unit ready for a new tenant is YOUR problem - not the current tenant.
  4. #4
    Cvillecpm is offline Senior Member
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    [url]http://www.thelpa.com/lpa/landlord-tenant-law/california-abandoned_property.html[/url]

    The minute the landlord KNOWS the property is VACANT and the rent is unpaid * THEN the landlord can use abandonment procedures to retake possession without going to court.

    Post the property; send a copy of the post to the tenant AT THE PROPERTY; wait the required amount of time * THEN retake possession and change the locks, put utilities in their name AND clean and re-rent.
  5. #5
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    California Civil Code Section 1951.3

    Well lets read some relevant parts of the law you cite


    Quote Originally Posted by California Civil Code Section 1951.3
    (a) Real property shall be deemed abandoned by the lessee, within the meaning of Section 1951.2, and the lease shall terminate if the lessor gives written notice of his belief of abandonment as provided in this section and the lessee fails to give the lessor written notice, prior to the date of termination specified in the lessor's notice, stating that he does not intend to abandon the real property and stating an address at which the lessee may be served by certified mail in any action for unlawful detainer of the real property.

    (b) The lessor may give a notice of belief of abandonment to the lessee pursuant to this section only where the rent on the property has been due and unpaid for at least 14 consecutive days and the lessor reasonably believes that the lessee has abandoned the property. The date of termination of the lease shall be specified in the lessor's notice and shall be not less than 15 days after the notice is served personally or, if mailed, not less than 18 days after the notice is deposited in the mail.
    So, section A - the tenants DEMAND that the outstanding rent is to be paid from the security deposit is already sufficient to meet that test. This landlord would have to file an eviction... which is dumb given it is November 19!

    Now ignore section A...

    Secion B

    Note the 15 DAY requirement.... and re-note today's date.

    This landlords trouble are hardly over, BUT they can't seize the property, not until time requirements will have past that would make the tenants venegful claim of possession completely moot.

    It's like you are trying to hand these landlord's vindictive tenants a reason to make a claim against a landlord who is in a very strong position already.
    Last edited by xylene; 11-19-2009 at 03:52 PM.
  6. #6
    Cvillecpm is offline Senior Member
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    Again - posting as abandoned and taking the property back does not require an eviction. The property owner ELECTS to take the rent from the deposit and if the property owner ELECTS NOT to take the rent from the deposit posting and moving forward is applicable.

    1950.5 allows the rent to be taken from the deposit AFTER the owner makes the proper inspections, etc. These statutes dovetail nicely.
  7. #7
    Y_ME_HERE is offline Junior Member
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    I'm not trying to evict them, they are already out, and I have used the deposit as the rents because I want them gone. That's not my point, I just want to know at WHAT point can I go back into my home, which has been sitting for over a week, to show and re-rent. I think they probably didn't move the electricity because they couldn't make the payment, so they moved what they could. I also think they left a broken item because they wanted to see if we would throw it away, which we haven't. I just want to CLEAN my house to show. They said that they would go back and clean. Then they said that they couldn't because they were too busy and are just keeping the keys and not calling. But they left the garage openers there. I'm not stating that ANYTHING is their problem or that I want anything from them. I just want my house back and I have no problem with changing the locks, I merely want to know when can I do this.
  8. #8
    Baranov is offline Member
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    The issue of rent and deposits is just as important as their vacating of the home. Read Cvilles post again very slowly so that you can understand them.
    Take photos of the property so that you can back up your claims of their abandonment of the property.

    Finally, hire an attorney so that you can do this right the first time around.
  9. #9
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Y_ME_HERE View Post
    I just want my house back and I have no problem with changing the locks, I merely want to know when can I do this.
    You can change the locks at any time basically

    BUT

    You must give them keys.

    You can change the locks and NOT give them keys when their lease is up (End of Nov.)

    OR

    You can change the locks when they are evicted (or the property is lawfully abandoned.

    NEither abandonment NOR eviction will happen before the end of November... which is when the lease ends.

    You can show the property, even while it is leased.

    If you have damages that exceed the deposit, (rent due, trash cleaning, windows...) then bill the tenant per the law and if need be sue them.
    Last edited by xylene; 11-20-2009 at 08:40 AM.

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