Pre Move-Out Initial Inspection

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As most landlords already know: within a reasonable time after notification of either party’s intention to terminate the tenancy, or before the end of the lease term, the landlord shall notify the tenant in writing of his or her option to request an initial inspection and of his or her right to be present at the inspection. This pre move-out inspection is found in California Civil Code Section 1950.5(f)(1).

The purpose of this inspection is to give the tenant an opportunity to repair any defects identified during the inspection in order to avoid deductions from the tenant’s security deposit.

When should the inspection be done?

At a reasonable time, but no earlier than two weeks before the termination or the end of the lease date, the landlord, or an agent of the landlord, shall, upon the request of the tenant, make an initial inspection of the premises prior to any final inspection the landlord makes after the tenant has vacated the premises.

What if the tenant does not want the inspection?

If the tenant chooses not to request an initial inspection, the landlord does not have any other duties with respect to the initial inspection.

What if an inspection is requested?

If the tenant requests to have the inspection, the parties shall attempt to schedule the inspection at a mutually acceptable date and time. The Landlord must give at least 48 hours’ prior written notice of the date and time of the inspection if either: 1. a mutual time is agreed upon, or 2. if a mutually agreed upon time cannot be scheduled but the tenant still wishes an inspection. This 48-hour notice may be waived if both parties sign a written waiver. The landlord shall proceed with the inspection whether or not the tenant is present.

What happens after the inspection?

After the inspection, the landlord shall give the tenant an itemized statement of all items the landlord intends to deduct from the security deposit if they are not cured. If the tenant is not present at the inspection, the landlord shall leave a copy of the itemized statement within the premises. The tenant shall have the opportunity during the period following the initial inspection until termination of the tenancy to remedy identified deficiencies in order to avoid deductions from the security deposit.
Do I have to offer initial inspections to tenants who are,or have been, evicted? No. You do not have to provide initial inspections to tenants who are being, or have been, evicted.

What happens if I fail to provide an initial inspection?

It is interesting to note that California Civil Code Section 1950.5(f)(1) does not provide a remedy to the tenant if the landlord fails to comply with the initial inspection requirements. In other words, the statute does not state a landlord forfeits the right to the security deposit for failure to comply with the initial inspection. However, if this issue was adjudicated (usually in small claims court) there is a possibility a judge could rule a landlord forfeits the right to the security deposit for failure to comply with the initial inspection.

Legal Questions and Answers

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Over the years HRH has answered thousands of questions and has provided advice on virtually every possible issue that can arise within the landlord-tenant relationship and unlawful detainer process. HRH has also handled thousands of unlawful detainer cases litigating these various issues, putting our advice to the test in the courtroom. This blog will address these questions along with their respective answers.