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Asked by Just looking, San Ramon, CA Sun Jan 18, 2009

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John D Fink, Agent, Brentwood, CA
Fri Jan 30, 2009
Good Afternoon,

The question I would have is if you hired an agent, did they use the standard lease agreement CAR Form LR (Residential Lease or Month-To-Month Rental Agreement). If yes, under section 4, item b, it states "All of any portion of the security deposit may be used, as reasonably necessary, to: (i) cure Tenant's default in payment of Rent (which includes Late Charges, NSF fee or other sums due)". So you legally can keep the deposit.

One thing that you MUST do is when you enter the property, take a video camera or still camera, make sure the date stamp is turned on and take photos of everything! This way if the tenant tries to sue in small claims court you have documented evidence of the condition of the home at the time they left. Make sure you have someone with you at the time you go through to verify that you entered and it can't be someone who has a financial interest in the transaction (not a spouse or any person you own the property with).

My gut feeling is they will not sue, but you can't be too careful.

I am sorry that you had this awful experience, but we live in awful times.

If I can be of any help, please let me know.

Good luck!
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Just looking, , San Ramon, CA
Fri Jan 30, 2009
Thank you for your advise, good part is they are moving out and I will be getting the keys from them today. They wanted to avoid a walkthru with us, so god knows what shape the home is in......
However they wanted to know about the "security deposit" which i believe I can keep because they

- did not give us thirty days notice
- have broken a 7 month contract and are liable for all rent
- probably have cleaning costs (which i will assess today)
- Agent fees , I will have to hire an agent to release the home and I previously also paid an agent...
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John D Fink, Agent, Brentwood, CA
Mon Jan 19, 2009
Good Morning.

First, the small claims court is in Pittsburg off Highway 4 on Railroad Ave.

Second, how you handle this is up to what kind of tenant do you have in the property. Are they or have they been in the past, an honest, trustworthy person to deal with. If the answer to that question is yes, then you may be able to get them moved out without much trouble. The truth is if they can't pay you, what do you expect to get out of them from the courts? Nothing. Sure you would get a judgement, but they don't have anything for you to take. If they are not the most honest of folks and then you slap them with a court action, what do you think they will do to your home? It could be very ugly and that is not what you want.

Probably the best course it to have a face-to-face talk if you can and try to work it out. If you don't feel comfortable with that, then send a certified letter with a follow up notice posted on their door to start the eviction process going.

Good luck and if you have anymore questions, let us know.
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Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Sun Jan 18, 2009
Sorry to hear this however your executed lease agreement will govern exactly what you can do tenant not paying lease, where PERHAPS in lease states you can do a landlord lien. Follow the eviction process in your state. OR contact an attorney. If they breach the lease recovery of damages thru legal proceedings and Judge rendering their opinion.
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