What are my rights if I was asked to move out of my apartment 5 days before my lease expired, because “someone is moving in soon” but was still charged for that time?

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What are my rights if I was asked to move out of my apartment 5 days before my lease expired, because “someone is moving in soon” but was still charged for that time?

Was promised to receive credit for those extra 5 days, but I had to move out the next day. I already had another apt. so it wasn’t a big deal for me. It wasn’t very pleasant experience, because I had to do it in about 12 hrs, but I was able to make it. Then after I notified them that I’m out, they said there will be no credit and I’m welcome to stay until 22nd when my lease ends. Today I received my end-of-lease papers with some minor cleaning charges and – get this – they charged me $211 for the 4 days I was already out (so I paid 2x). All communication with the leasing office people took place over email. What to do now?

Asked on June 30, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, if the landlord asked you to move out early in exchange for a credit, he made an offer to you--you would leave early (give up possession to which you were entitled) in exchange for money (the credit). When you accepted that offer, you and he entered into an enforceble agreement or contract, so you could sue the landlord to recover your money for breach of contract. Furthermore, a landlord may *never* charge you double rent except in specific scenarios allowed by law or the explicit terms of the lease, which would not seem to apply here, so you could sue to recover the double payment, too. For the amount of money at stake, suing in small claims court "pro se" (acting as your own attorney is probably a very good option for you.


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