If aroommate moves out in the middle of the month without notice, should they receive a prorated refund of their rent payment?

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If aroommate moves out in the middle of the month without notice, should they receive a prorated refund of their rent payment?

Our house of roommates asked a roommate to move out because she was not a good personality fit. We gave her an open-ended date of approximately 45 days. Without notice, she moved out within 48 hours, on the 16th of the month. She demanded her deposit back and also the prorated amount that she paid for the rest of the month (17th through 31st.) Are we legally bound to pay her this amount? Since she didn’t give notice, are we allowed to deduct from her deposit to cover for her 30 day notice?

Asked on October 17, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If there was a lease and she was a signatory to it, she is bound (and responsible for the rent) for either the entire remaining term of the lease or for however long she was required to provide notice under the lease. If the amount of time she was bound for is longer than 45 days, but you agreed to let her move out on 45 days notice, that's the amount of time she'd be liable for. If there was no lease, then she was a month to month tenant and is responsible for 30 days notice, so she needs to pay at least that much.

If you've allowed her to move out (and end her tenancy) before the lease (if there was one) is up, or if she moved out on proper notice (e.g. 30 days, if a month to month), you should return her deposit, less charges for damage and also, if she does not pay the rent she owes for the notice period, you could use the deposit against that amount of the rent.


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