My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: California
Not sure how to deal with this one. First the backstory.
I own a Section 8 apartment building. One of my tenants is on a lease that’s not set to expire until 10/1/14. Her rent is $1350 per month. Section 8 pays $810 and she pays $540.
Other tenants of the building advised that she and her family moved out of her apartment just prior to 9/1/14, which is one month prior to the end of her lease. They state there is a horrible smell coming from her now empty apartment, that it is infested with roaches that have spread to the other apartments and are requesting that corrective action be taken.
The property management company tracked the tenant down by phone. She confirmed verbally to them she has moved out and will return the keys to their office on 9/6/14. The tenant lied, staying she had to leave because she failed her Section 8 inspection and her benefits were terminated. We know this is not true because Section 8 sends us notices ahead of time advising us when inspections are scheduled and when they are passed or failed. We received none. Additionally, Section 8 paid their portion of her September rent, so obviously her benefits are still intact. (The tenant has not paid her September rent share.)
Neither I nor my property management company have run into this before, so I am throwing this out for input from your combined wisdom.
1. Within the meaning of the law, has she broken her lease? While she may have physically abandoned her apartment, failed to pay her portion of the rent, and verbally admitted she has quit the premises, Section 8 has paid $810 of her September rent (18 days) and there is $1,210 to be drawn from the tenant’s security deposit to cover the remainder of the month when the lease will end.
2. Given the circumstances, are we still required to post 24 hour notice prior to making entry to assess and address the odor and insect problem?
3. At what point can we change the locks and begin prepping the apartment for new tenants and showing it?
4. At what point does the 21 day clock begin to run on the tenant deposit refund or an explanation of expenses– now, or October 1, or sometime in between if we can find and move a new tenant in?
Any other words of wisdom you can offer would be appreciated.