A Los Angeles tenant abandons the rental unit when he voluntarily gives up possession of the property and does not intend to perform the obligations of the lease. Tenant abandonment differs from tenant surrender, because a tenant abandonment occurs without the permission of the landlord. Sometimes, tenants will attempt to “surrender” the unit to the landlord, which effectively terminates the tenant’s obligation to pay any future rent. The landlord should not accept the surrender unless the landlord is agreeing to allow the tenant “out” of the lease.
In order to establish tenant abandonment of the rental unit in Los Angeles, the landlord must first provide notice that the landlord believes that the property has been abandoned. If there is no response to the notice, the Los Angeles landlord may then reenter and retake possession without having to go through the Los Angeles eviction process in court.
Los Angeles landlords are cautioned to use the abandonment laws carefully. For example, the tenant abandonment notice may only be given after the rent has been due for 14 or more consecutive days, and the landlord’s belief that the tenant has abandoned the property must be “reasonable.” If the Los Angeles landlord uses the tenant abandonment rules incorrectly, the landlord may be liabile to the tenant for wrongful eviction. On the other hand, the nice thing about the tenant abandonment procedures is that it cuts down on the time and expense involved through the court eviction process.
My firm often recommends that although the tenant abandonment procedure is a possibility, going through the court with a formal Los Angeles eviction of the tenant is usually the safer route to go to insulate the landlord from possible liability.
More information is available in this article on tenant abandonment.
The Law Office of David Piotrowski represents landlords throughout southern California and can assist with a tenant eviction.
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