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California: Lease states that I loose security deposit if I break lease.. for any reason.

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#1
What is the name of your state? California - SF Bay Area

I just noticed that my lease states that the landlord can keep my security deposit if I break the lease early. This is in addition to any other damages for lost rent. Basically if I break the lease he keeps it even if I find him another qualified tenant. Is that legal in California? I live on the SF peninsula. Does California law override his edits on the lease?
 


#2
It's not that simple. A lot depends on the exact terms and conditions of your lease as required by the following CA statute:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/fa...tionNum=1951.4.

Read it and then check your lease for the appropriate provisions.

California law doesn't take kindly to forfeitures but it does give a landlord the option of continuing to hold you responsible for the rent indefinitely and apply your deposit to unpaid rent if he complies with the statute.

Keep in mind that it's not your opinion of whether your replacement is qualified it's the landlords qualifying requirements that are paramount as long as those requirements are reasonable.

Also keep in mind that you'll be obliged to continue paying rent until the replacement is approved or you sublet the unit and retain responsibility for your tenant.

In short, breaking a lease comes with consequences even in the best of circumstances and you could, effectively, lose your deposit and then some.

The lesson learned here: Don't sign contracts and think you can just walk away from them unscathed.
 
#3
Note that other than unpaid rent (as AJ points out it requires mitigation on the part of the landlord) and physical damage to the unit, California law prohibits docking the security deposit for other "damages" even in light of a liquidated damage clause in the lease (which works in other states).
 
#4
What is the name of your state? California - SF Bay Area

I just noticed that my lease states that the landlord can keep my security deposit if I break the lease early. This is in addition to any other damages for lost rent. Basically if I break the lease he keeps it even if I find him another qualified tenant. Is that legal in California? I live on the SF peninsula. Does California law override his edits on the lease?

Yes he can keep your security deposit plus costs of restoring the property to rental condition, advertising, rent loss incurred till new tenants(s) move in. Your landlord can sue you for up to $10,000 in small claims court..

I use this clause in all my Lease Agreements
"All parties agree that termination o this Agreement prior to termination date will constitute breach of the tenancy and all Security Deposits and one full month's rent shall be forfeited in favor of Landlord as liquidated damages plus you will be charged the cost of restoring the property to rental condition plus advertising and rent loss incurred until the new resident moves in. Your liability for rent loss is limited to thirty (30) days after restoration is complete. "

Your replacement tenant may not be suitable for the landlord...
 
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#5
Thanks Torx2,

Are you sure? Responses so far seem unanimous (on various websites) in that California law seems to protect tenants by not allowing landlords to "profit" from breaking a lease. Here the housing market is so tight that you sort of have to sign what they give you or you don't get a place to live. So the state takes some responsibility to protect renters from Landlord who take advantage. You have rentals in California?

Thanks.


Yes he can keep your security deposit plus costs of restoring the property to rental condition, advertising, rent loss incurred till new tenants(s) move in. Your landlord can sue you for up to $10,000 in small claims court..

I use this clause in all my Lease Agreements
"All parties agree that termination o this Agreement prior to termination date will constitute breach of the tenancy and all Security Deposits and one full month's rent shall be forfeited in favor of Landlord as liquidated damages plus you will be charged the cost of restoring the property to rental condition plus advertising and rent loss incurred until the new resident moves in. Your liability for rent loss is limited to thirty (30) days after restoration is complete. "

Your replacement tenant may not be suitable for the landlord...
 
#6
Thanks Torx2,

Are you sure? Responses so far seem unanimous (on various websites) in that California law seems to protect tenants by not allowing landlords to "profit" from breaking a lease. Here the housing market is so tight that you sort of have to sign what they give you or you don't get a place to live. So the state takes some responsibility to protect renters from Landlord who take advantage. You have rentals in California?

Thanks.

Looked up CA law regarding this. I am a landlord in NY and been to court many times here. One advice I'll give you is look up the landlord/tenant law for CA yourself. The judge will base his ruling on the law not some here say from the internet.

Here is a link to start with:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/overview-landlord-tenant-laws-california.html
 
#7
...or you can read the link that AJ posted which goes directly to Calfiornia law. What we have been saying is in harmony with the California law, what you say about your NY experience is entirely spurious.
 
#8
...or you can read the link that AJ posted which goes directly to Calfiornia law. What we have been saying is in harmony with the California law, what you say about your NY experience is entirely spurious.
I based my interpretation on CA law which I looked up which is similar to NY. In this case I can see monetary judgement for breach of lease against the OP and resulting damage to his credit score. If the OP feels he is obligated to get his security deposit back he will need to sue the landlord separately.

Now everybody rise: here come the judge...o_O
 
#9
I based my interpretation on CA law which I looked up which is similar to NY. In this case I can see monetary judgement for breach of lease against the OP and resulting damage to his credit score. If the OP feels he is obligated to get his security deposit back he will need to sue the landlord separately.

Now everybody rise: here come the judge...o_O
California landlord tenant laws are really nothing at all like landlord tenant laws in New York.
 
#12
It is a good thing adjusterjack provided a link to the law so you didn't have to look far.
I always look at different sources as the laws change over time. CA and NY have similar laws regarding breaking a lease agreement early. Where the problem exists for the landlord is collecting the judgement. Some tenants will just skip out not caring about the law or bad credit rating they will get if the landlord sues them.


Now everybody rise: here come the judge...:sneaky:
 
#13
I always look at different sources as the laws change over time. CA and NY have similar laws regarding breaking a lease agreement early. Where the problem exists for the landlord is collecting the judgement. Some tenants will just skip out not caring about the law or bad credit rating they will get if the landlord sues them.


Now everybody rise: here come the judge...:sneaky:
You need to look at the poster's state. New York laws apply to New York.

There is no court action. You can take a seat.
 
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