Read: http://www.caltenantlaw.com/Deposit.htm (which is Ken Carlson's website, a California attorney with a specialty in California Tenant/Landlord law, although he no longer represents clients) as it says:
If the landlord fails to return the security deposit, your remedy is to sue him in small claims court. Make your demand letter clear, explaining which deductions were improper and why, and keep a copy for court. Sue not only for the amount that you paid, but for "statutory damages and interest" for the landlord's bad faith retention of the security deposit. You can get your money back and then some, if the judge agrees [up to twice the amount of the deposit for "bad faith" retention!]. The "non-refundable" provision is strong evidence of the landlord's bad faith. Have a lawyer coach you in your small claims presentation.
Sometimes the new landlord claims that he never got your security deposit from your former landlord, so he's got nothing to give you. However, the new landlord still owes you the deposit even if he didn't get from the former landlord. Their escrow should have provided for the deposits to be transferred, and if they didn't do that, they have their remedy against the broker. Landlords know the law on that, but they just hope that you don't know it. Tell them to read Civil Code Section 1950.5.
The other option is to sue the landlord in small claims court for return of your security deposit. However, the landlord then can file a counterclaim against you. In the counterclaim, the landlord can assert a right to make deductions from the deposit, for example, for unpaid rent or for damage to the rental that the landlord alleges that you caused. Each party then will have to argue in court why he or she is entitled to the deposit.
What if the rental is sold while I still live there?
Both owners can be responsible for returning your deposit when you move. The previous owner can give the new owner your deposit and send you a letter telling you the name, address, and phone number of the new owner and how much money was transferred. Then the new owner has to return your deposit. Otherwise you should request that the previous owner return it.
What Can a Foreclosed-Upon Tenant Do?
Thanks to the 2009 federal legislation, most tenants with leases will keep their leases, and month-to-month tenants will have at least 90 days to relocate. Tenants with leases have no legal recourse against their former landlords, because they are in the same position vis a vis the new owner as they were with the old: The lease survives and ends as it would had there been no foreclosure. Similarly, month-to-month tenants always know that they can be terminated with proper notice, and 90 days is longer than any state's termination period.
However, a lease-holding tenant whose rental has been bought by a buyer who wants to move in to the property ends up less fortunate than before the foreclosure -- he may lose his lease with 90 days' notice, a result that probably would not have happened had the owner simply sold the property to a buyer who intended to occupy the property. (Normally, the new owner has to wait until the lease ends, absent a lease clause providing for termination upon sale, though such clauses may not be legal in all situations.)
Ingrid Ski Realtor. 949.874.0432
Sorry about your situation. In addition to the good answers so far, check your lease to see if you are entitled to parking. The landlord may be breaching the lease thereby giving you other remedies.
When ownership of a property changes, that information is recorded at the county recorder's office and is public record. Any title company will be able to run a chain of title and tell you who is the current owner. (Most realtors can help you get this information.) Unfortunately, it may take a few days from the transfer until is it actually shows up in a title search. Ownership does NOT transfer when the agent or the bank accepts the offer. Ownership only transfers when the buyer closes escrow, which can be anywhere from 60-120 days after the seller (not the seller's agent) accepts the buyer's offer or 30-45 days after the bank approves the short sale. Ownership WOULD transfer on the date of trustee sale, if it is not postponed. The new owner would be either the bank or a third party who buys the condo on the courthouse st4eps. Remember you have tenant rights when the property sells, and extended tenants rights under both State and Federal laws if it sells at Trustee Auction / Foreclosure Sale.
If you provide me with the property address, I can provide you with a way to check and see if the auction is postponed. Just send the address to the e-mail in my signature block.
Lastly, I would go and speak with the Home Owner's Association or management company about your situation. I don't believe it is their intent to punish you for the wrong doings of your landlord. Maybe you can work something out with them to prevent getting ticketed for parking at your home. Hope this has been helpful and Dare to Dream.
Shel-lee Davis, QSCÂ®
Certified Distressed Property Expert â€“ CDPEÂ®
Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource â€“ SFRÂ®
Certified HAFA Specialist â€“ CHSÂ®
Your Real Estate Consultant for Life
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
Shel-lee and Skip have provided some terrific information for you as have others. There are some key points you need to keep in mind;
1) The property belongs to the current owner until the bank forecloses at the auction or once the transaction closes and RECORDS at the County Recorder. Any agent can help in finding that out. As has been said, sometimes it can take days, weeks, or even months for that recording to actually show up on the records.
2) I do not believe the HOA can deny you (or the owner for that matter) any amenities, parking, utilities, etc. whether the HOA dues are paid or not - you might speak with the HOA (if they will talk with you) to see if you help them understand you are the tenant and not the owner and ask why they are not allowing you to park there. DO NOT PAY THE HOA DIRECTLY if it's already included as part of your rent payment to the landlord.
"Blacklisting" a homeowner or tenant may be against Fair Housing law.
3) Your lease is in full force and effect throughout its term unless the landlord allows you to break it - get it in writing if the landlord allows you to break it - but that's doubtful. Otherwise, you are getting what you are paying for - you pay your rent on the 1st and you get "housing" for the following month. If the property is foreclosed or sold at auction, neither the bank nor the new owner will just "throw you out" they have to honor your lease and/or provide 30 days notice in writing depending on a number of factors. If its an investor, they will likely want you to stay unless they plan to flip the property right away. Make sure if you get written notice from any new owner, and VERIFY it. Also, do not pay the CURRENT owner any further rent after the notice of new ownership is verified - pay it to whomever it says the new owner is.
4) MOST IMPORTANTLY - Contact an attorney. Most attorneys will give you 15 minutes at no charge. So before you call an attorney, write down everything you need to chat about so you get as much as you need within that 15 minutes.
None of the above should be interpreted as legal advice. As a Real Estate Broker I cannot provide legal opinion or advice, nor have I attempted to do so. There is no substitute for good legal counsel. This is merely my opinion of your situation.
Best of luck, and let any of us know if we can assist,
Broker / Owner
Thom Colby Properties
Newport Beach, CA
Moving Lives Forward (TM)
We NEVER DOUBLE-END Transactions in our Brokerage. IN MY OPINION, there is NO benefit to the Seller or Buyer and only benefits the Agent.
I know we talked about this and I am sure you already called the fair housing council for advise. You may want to contact an attorney for any other options. they maybe able to get you out of the lease. You may want to check this out - if the landlord is taking rent monies and he has not paying his mortgage the rent monies are supposed to go to the lender. Providing the lender knows he is renting the place out? You should get some legal advice for your situation from an attorney.
Talk to you soon
Ingrid Ski Realtor
In Virginia, the HOA/Condo can CERTAINLY deny you access to the amenities and parking if their fee is not paid. Unfortunately you probably do not have access to this information unless you call the condo directly and ask them, although the landlord should have given you a copy of the bylaws at lease signing. This is required in Virginia, not sure of California. If parking is part of your lease, as well as any of the amenities, you should call the Fair Housing Council that Ingrid mentioned below, it's possible that the landlord is in breach of contract with your lease.
This is such a horrible situation that unfortunately is happening to often these days to tenants. Regardless, worse case scenario you should be prepared to move. You certainly have rights as Shel-lee mentioned that could give you the ability to stay in the property even after the trustee sale. But... if the property goes to short sale and it has not been written in the contract for the purchasers to honor your lease, they might not know, and it could become a huge legal battle. I say go for it, sounds like someone needs to hold your landlord accountable! But you might not want to deal with the hassle, stress and cost.
I am a retired Marine Corp we work with veterans everyday.
I need to know about you to help answer all of your answers but I do feel that our exsperience helps get the job done.
If you have a friend in title they can pull it.
Email me your address and I will pull it today and get it back to you today.