Riverside, CA asked in Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: Lease endEd today & tenant is a no-show to return keys. Personal belongings are still in the unit. What are my rights?

The tenant is behind on rent for the month, and I have a strong suspicion that she plans on squatting in my unit. She also moved and her daughter and her two children without my permission. She has been there the entire duration. I want to move in and change the locks. Since there is a lease, is it considered abandoned property if she is not communicating with me and still has belongings here? The unit is furnished, so she doesn’t have furniture, just personal belongings and clothing. She also has said nothing about not planning to leave. She has not use Covid as an excuse either, she has always promised to pay and has never said that she will not be leaving. What are my rights? Can I change the locks since I need to move into my unit? Can I store her belongings after videotaping them? Please advise.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The good news is that the law is very specific about what to do, the bad news is that it takes some time. Your obligations are set forth in the Civil Code, there is a section called "Disposition of Personal Property Remaining on Premises at Termination of Tenancy §§1980 - 1991" You need to particularly look at 1982 and following. There are examples of the language to use in correspondence or notes. Videotaping is a good idea, and the earlier the better. You may not be able to move into the unit as quickly as you want, but you have the right idea about putting the goods into storage (hopefully a separate unit). The problem becomes complicated when the tenant is upset about you moving your things and makes claims against her deposit. You gave a notice of right to pre move out inspection? Right?

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

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.