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Did some research, please confirm re:month to month leases

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cawink

Junior Member
What is the name of your state? California

I have read through many many posts here, and did some searching on the California Government site regarding real estate laws. I want to thank all of the people who contribute here, and inspired me to learn about the laws and rights (or lack thereof) I have here in California.

Here is some background on the situation:

I am on the lease for my current residence, and a few months ago, I found room mates to fill some empty rooms in the house. I told them about rent and utility sharing (utilities split evenly between the rooms), and they paid me rent like good room mates. I gave them leases, but they never signed them.

One morning a few months later, the day rent was due, I noticed that their rooms were empty of most of their stuff. They had left without telling me. I pay rent for the whole house, and the room mates pay rent to me. On top of that, they still owed for utility bills for the previous month. Furthermore, when they had completely vacated, I checked one room. It was now painted with graffiti and un-rentable. I have a copy of the police report, as well as pictures of the room. One window was pulled out of the wall and will need to be replaced as well. I eventually found new tenants for the rooms.


My interpretation:

Although the lease was left unsigned, they had entered into an oral month-to-month rental agreement by default. This is according to: http://www.dca.ca.gov/legal/landlordbook/before-rent.htm#agreements

I have copies of their previous rent checks to prove that indeed they were paying me for the rooms.

According to http://www.dca.ca.gov/legal/landlordbook/moving-out.htm#landlordsnoticetoend , they have to give me one month notice before moving out.

For the utilities, I have copies of the bills ready, and copies of previous checks the former room mates had given to me for their share of the utilities. I believe this proves that indeed an agreement was made for utility splitting.


I believe I have a good case to take to small claims court, and I have documentation of all of my expenses incurred because of their agreement termination, and documentation of their payments to me from previous months. I did the repairs myself, and logged the times that I worked. Since one room was unrentable because of "waste" committed by the previous room mate, I noted the money I had lost because of the time that the rooms were unoccupied.

Do you guys think I have a good case against them, am I on the legal high ground here? Are there any other documents that you think I should have before I file a claim? I want to sue in small claims for:
-utilities that they used, but never paid for
-rent that was lost because "waste" and lack of notification of move-out
-time that I took to repair the damaged room
-new locks because they did not return the keys

Sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to make sure that I am prepared when I file the lawsuit in small claims court.

-Charles
 


BelizeBreeze

Senior Member
cawink said:
What is the name of your state? California

I have read through many many posts here, and did some searching on the California Government site regarding real estate laws. I want to thank all of the people who contribute here, and inspired me to learn about the laws and rights (or lack thereof) I have here in California.

Here is some background on the situation:

I am on the lease for my current residence, and a few months ago, I found room mates to fill some empty rooms in the house. I told them about rent and utility sharing (utilities split evenly between the rooms), and they paid me rent like good room mates. I gave them leases, but they never signed them.

One morning a few months later, the day rent was due, I noticed that their rooms were empty of most of their stuff. They had left without telling me. I pay rent for the whole house, and the room mates pay rent to me. On top of that, they still owed for utility bills for the previous month. Furthermore, when they had completely vacated, I checked one room. It was now painted with graffiti and un-rentable. I have a copy of the police report, as well as pictures of the room. One window was pulled out of the wall and will need to be replaced as well. I eventually found new tenants for the rooms.


My interpretation:

Although the lease was left unsigned, they had entered into an oral month-to-month rental agreement by default. This is according to: http://www.dca.ca.gov/legal/landlordbook/before-rent.htm#agreements

I have copies of their previous rent checks to prove that indeed they were paying me for the rooms.

According to http://www.dca.ca.gov/legal/landlordbook/moving-out.htm#landlordsnoticetoend , they have to give me one month notice before moving out.

For the utilities, I have copies of the bills ready, and copies of previous checks the former room mates had given to me for their share of the utilities. I believe this proves that indeed an agreement was made for utility splitting.


I believe I have a good case to take to small claims court, and I have documentation of all of my expenses incurred because of their agreement termination, and documentation of their payments to me from previous months. I did the repairs myself, and logged the times that I worked. Since one room was unrentable because of "waste" committed by the previous room mate, I noted the money I had lost because of the time that the rooms were unoccupied.

Do you guys think I have a good case against them, am I on the legal high ground here? Are there any other documents that you think I should have before I file a claim? I want to sue in small claims for:
-utilities that they used, but never paid for
-rent that was lost because "waste" and lack of notification of move-out
-time that I took to repair the damaged room
-new locks because they did not return the keys

Sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to make sure that I am prepared when I file the lawsuit in small claims court.

-Charles
no one can tell you if it's a good case or not. Simply put, we weren't there and we don't know what reasons they will use for adandonning the place (i.e., "Your honor, this person pointed a saw-off shotgun at our heads and told us to get out!")

However, that being said, you seem to have the documentation that you will need. However, the damages may be a problem if you did not do a move-in inspection that can be verified (a signed sheet from you and the renters signifying as to the condition of the rooms before move-in and moving-out).

Your time is also not compensible.

HOWEVER, since they broke the lease by failing to give proper notice, you do have the right to recover any security deposit (you DID get one right?) and the cost of re-renting the rooms including rent for the period of time that it would have been occupied had they given proper notice.
 

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