Asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: I have a tenant who only gave a 10 day notice to leave and she wants to keep the key with her

Hi, before signing a contract with this tenant, she asked if the contract could be till mid March. I said no, I can only do till end of April. So she agreed and signed the contract. She gave me a 10 day notice that she’s leaving, I told her that’s not okay and that she either finds someone to sublet or she pays for the remaining months. (2 months rest - of March and April). She is leaving today and she doesn’t want to pay before leaving. She wants to pay at the end of March and at the end of April. And she wants to keep the key with her. I can’t guarantee that she will come back to give me the key. Is this something that she can do? Keep the key with her? I don’t understand why she wants to keep the key if she is moving out. What can I do? Also she’s being very passive aggressive and very petty and also ignores my messages and I keep having to message her over and over to get a response from her. She already knew she wanted to leave mid March so why did she sign?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Donald M Barker
Donald M Barker
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Costa Mesa, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Assuming no other "Issues," in your situation, a tenant must pay rent when called for in the lease. If the tenant fails to pay, then you must serve a "Three-Day Notice to Pay or Quit." If she pays, life is good. If she does not, you have to file with the court and serve her with an Unlawful Detainer complaint. Life is now not good.

It will take at least four weeks, if not many more, to get an "Order of Eviction" from the Court.

The Order allows the Sheriff to forcefully remove her within about five days from date of Order.

If she is this flaky, I doubt you'll ever collect any money from her, beyond regaining your rental unit.

Give her a three-day notice and see what she does.

1 user found this answer helpful

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.