Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in California

I live in Novato CA. I have subleased a room in our home since my father passed away. It was a 2-rm in-law unit in large home. I rented it to a man w/2 children which were supposed to be here minimally. We had an oral agreement until we could decide on bills to see how much they increased and the amount of time the kids were here. He got verbally abusive to my Mother and me at 2 different times. I am scared of him. He gave us a week notice from an email and is moving out today. He moved in on 15Dec paying $1000 rent and $2250 deposit. He now demands we pay him his deposit tonight upon departure. Don't we have rights? Doesn't he have to give 30 day notice and we have 21 days after he leaves to return his deposit. He also painted the room an ugly color green. Shouldn't he have to paint it back to original color?

Please let me know.

Asked on 1/31/12, 4:22 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

David Gibbs The Gibbs Law Firm, APC

First, it would appear that you have a month-to-month, oral rental agreement. The terms are somewhat vague as a result of the utilities issue, so I would stick with his only owing you rent. Yes, he must give 30 days notice. By failing to do so, you have the right to deduct from his deposit any unpaid rent through the last day of 30 days from the date he first gave notice of moving. You have 21 days to return his deposit in full, or provide an accounting for the use of the deposit. Be sure he gives you a valid forwarding address - tell him if he doesn't you'll have to mail the deposit to the current house, and if it doesn't get forwarded, it's not your problem. As for the paint, if you agreed to it, then he doesn't have to repaint it. If you did not authorize it, then you can hire someone to paint it back and withhold from his deposit the cost of hiring someone.

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Answered on 2/02/12, 3:32 pm

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