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progradi

Registered: 03/18/09
Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 
I live in California. 

My apologies if this topic has already been covered, I spent quite a bit of time researching this forum and the web for my answer to no avail.

I am both a landlord (house) and tenant (small studio).  I had a short term rental (2 months) landlord lives in New York, property is in California. I paid my last months rent in advance as well as deposit.

I gave him notice to vacate on February 26, 2009 that my last month would be in March. I vacated March 15, on March 16th a new tenant moved in. I was prepared to eat the remaining time for the month, but since he is collecting double rent am I entitled to any refund for the remainder of March? 

Before I write to him I would like to be able to quote the appropriate law. I have confirmed that that new tenant has paid for March as I met her and spoke with her. 

My sincere thanks in advance for your response.

Christine
OHlandlord

Registered: 01/20/07
Posts: 3,537
Reply with quote  #2 
Whether the rental is a studio (as in commercial art studio) or if it is a studio apartment (residential unit) makes a difference.  Residential units are covered by LL-Tenant laws.  Commerical units (like an art studio) are usually not. 

In residential, the LL cannot collect rent from two tenants for the same period.  He can allow a tenant to move into the unit early, as long as rent is not collected from the new tenant.  (This is questionable though!)  Once the new tenant starts paying rent, he must refund the previous tenant the pre-paid rent that he is now collecting from the new one.  If it is a residential unit, you should get back the other 1/2 month of rent - providing you didn't leave owing money to him.  (If you did, this money can be used to pay your bills.)

If this is a commercial unit, there are usually no laws regarding whether he can keep the rest of your rent.  Check your state laws for commerical rental laws.  If you find none, then whatever the lease said is what is ruled as correct.  Commercial tenants do not have the protections that residential ones do. 
progradi

Registered: 03/18/09
Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you OHlanlord!  I really appreciate your response.

It is a residential unit, i was pretty sure that he couldn't collect rent twice, but i am having a hard time finding out exactly where this is written in the CA law or landlord tenant Act.  I don't want to initiate this discussion with him before being able to quote the section where this is prohibited.

Thanks again!
Christine

rialto

Registered: 10/09/07
Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #4 
California law prohibits a landlord from receiving a windfall as to the collection of rent, i.e. receiving double payment, for the same premises, Willis v. Soda Shoppes, (1982).

I got this verbatum from my lawyers letter to the owner of a management property.

You might have to do a search on Willis v. Soda Shoppes, (1982).  I would like to help you more but I have other legal issues of my own I have to do research on.

Good Luck!

OHlandlord

Registered: 01/20/07
Posts: 3,537
Reply with quote  #5 
I am not familiar with the specific case cited in the last posting.  However, this is a legal tenet in all states, not just CA.  It is akin to fraud to collect rent from 2 individuals for the same place for the same time period. 

However, in commercial rentals, the LL-tenant statutes usually don't apply.  So a clause that states that if you default on the contract and all monies owed then fall due might be upheld.  This is contract law, not a residential rental law.  Many commercial leases are written as a full price per year (payable in 12 easy installments).  So if written in this manner, it could be held that the full price is still due.  Commercial laws and trials are much riskier than residential ones (which have written laws to make it easier to discern what is right or wrong).

But since this was residential, rest assured that a CA judge will not allow him to collect rent for that unit from both (past and present) tenants.
progradi

Registered: 03/18/09
Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #6 
Thank you Rialto for taking the time to respond to my post.  I did find the case law you reference and it appears to be related to Commercial property, mine is residential.  I do think that it would be strange for the same not to apply to residential.

OHLandlord - thanks once again for your help, you've confirmed my initial thoughts my previous landlord cannot collect doule rent. I have everything i need to proceed forward.  I will wait for another week as I am still waiting for my deposit (been 2 weeks so far)  If i am going to go after him i might as well wait and go after it all.  Very strange man  - and i think he has a cash flow problem as he asked me twice if i could deposit rent earlier than the first of the month as he overdrew his account?   lives in NY and i am not sure he is on the up and up. Not for me to judge, as i have my own cash flow problems - i just want to make sure i get my money back.

I appreciate everyones assistance!

Christine

jacquie18

Registered: 12/21/11
Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #7 
I would just like to add, that a landlord has 15 days after the tenant moves out and gives a forwarding address to return the damage deposit.  If a landlord does not comply with the rules and deadlines for returning a deposit or does not make an application for dispute resolution asking to keep the deposit, a DRO may order a landlord to pay DOUBLE the amount of the security deposit to the tenant.
OHlandlord

Registered: 01/20/07
Posts: 3,537
Reply with quote  #8 

Just a note-every state has its own time limits to return a deposit from a couple weeks up to 60 days.  You need to know your own state law to know when that deposit has to be returned.  If you aren't sure, go back to the main forums page.  Scroll halfway down for a link to your state law chart.

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