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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Question Changing Locks After Roommate Moved Out Early

    My question involves a roommate in the State of: California

    I had a roommate (subleasing month to month.. no written contract, just verbal) who gave notice on March 29 and said he's moving out April 6 (only 8 days notice). On April 6, he packs up moves out ALL of his belongings and has yet to pay rent for the month of April. On the day he moved out, I asked for the rent money I told him because you have yet to pay rent, your deposit will go towards this months rent and you will owe the remaining balance. Which he laughed at but eventually agreed to.

    Because he didn't pay rent, didn't leave a forwarding address, and already moved out all his belongings. My gf and I felt unsafe about him coming and going as he pleased since he had no reason to return. So we asked the leasing office (we're both on the lease) to change our locks for our safety and security.

    Well he came by this weekend (April 11) to pay the remainder of the rent owed and return his keys was upset the locks were changed on him and he now wants his deposit back and not pay rent for April.

    My questions are, do we have to refund his deposit since he didn't give 30 days notice? And is there any consequences for us changing the locks?

    Thanks for your time and help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Changing Locks After Roommate Moved Out Early

    He moved out voluntarily, and you say he agreed to forfeit his deposit and to pay April rent, so assuming you kept your end of the deal and the court believes your version of events a small claims court should decide that issue in your favor. Ideally you would have reduced your agreement to writing, and had him sign and date it; you run the risk that he'll deny that there was an agreement and that the court will believe him.

    You didn't change the locks - your landlord changed the locks. Your actions did have the net effect of excluding him from the apartment, as you did not give him a key, but supposedly he had already vacated by that time. Given that he was supposedly returning his keys at the time he found out the locks had been changed, why is he upset about it?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default Re: Changing Locks After Roommate Moved Out Early

    Thank you very much for your reponse. Yes, he did voluntarily move out. He canceled his utilities cable/internet (without telling me btw), packed all his stuff and left. The moment he moved out, I've only kept contact with him through e-mail so I do have written conversations with him that he was coming back to pay the remainder of the rent. And it was through email that he said he came back to pay the remainder but he will no longer pay and wants his deposit back since we changed the locks and "ripped" him of his rights to enter the apartment.

    He's upset cause he feels he can come and go from the apartment up until the end of the month because I have his deposit. (Yes, even though he was returning the keys that day! I don't get that part either.) The reason I have his deposit is because he didn't pay rent for the month of April and only gave me 8 days notice before moving out.

    Now here's the questions I'm getting mixed answers from. Since he was renting a room month to month from me for the past 11 months (no written contract but he paid at the beginning of each month), is he required to give 30 days notice before moving out? And is it legal for me to keep his security deposit for only giving 8 days notice and not paying for the month of April?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Default Re: Changing Locks After Roommate Moved Out Early

    For notice to move out,
    Quote Quoting Tenant's notice to end a periodic tenancy
    To end a periodic rental agreement (for example, a month-to-month agreement), you must give your landlord proper written notice before you move.

    You must give the landlord the same amount of notice as there are days between rent payments. This means that if you pay rent monthly, you must give the landlord written notice at least 30 days before you move. If you pay rent every week, you must give the landlord written notice at least seven days before you move....
    You will want to follow the law in relation to security deposits, as described here.

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