What can I do if I had a storage unit and prepaid my landlord 3 months rent in advance, however they raised my rent without notice and deducted the new rate from the money I prepaid?

I told the landlord that that was not acceptable, I would vacate and would need to be refunded the amount of my prepaid rent prorated. The landlord demanded 2 weeks notice and I complied. I have receipts showing I was charged $180 a month. There was about 74 days to be refunded. The landlord said that according to his ledger he only owed $128 to me. I said that I would not take that amount. He said I get nothing, what to do?

Asked on September 11, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the landlord. One party to a contract may not unilaterally, or by himself, change the terms of the contract. Rental leases are contracts. By prepaying 3 months, the landlord agreed i.e. entered into a contract to rent to you for three months at that rate and to not use that money for other purposes. If the landlord breaches a contract in a material or imporant way--and raising rent when he cannot, and using the prepayment money for it, is a material violation--that material breach would let you treat the contract as terminated and recover your unused funds. d on what you write, you appear to have a valid case for breach of contract and could, for example, sue the landlord in small claims court, acting as your own attorney.

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