You can use our understanding of California landlord tenant law as a way to understand what you should look for in your own state’s landlord tenant law. The Internet search engine “Google” is a great resource you can use to find the landlord tenant law of your state by typing in “landlord tenant law” and the name of your state. You can also find a list of the landlord tenant laws for specific states by going to The Landlord Protection Agency Web site: www.thelpa.com/lpa/lllaw.html. If you live in California, you can also check out the following resources (which I used extensively to prepare for court):
1. Attorney Ken Carlson’s excellent Web site devoted to tenants’ rights: www.caltenantlaw.com. I searched the Web for landlord tenant information, and Ken’s Web site is by far the most informative. For only $20, you can also download Ken’s comprehensive PDF (eBook) workbook devoted to the logistics of using small claims court and getting your deposit back. I highly recommend you buy his workbook, because he explains details on how to use small claims court that are not covered in this book.
2. The actual California landlord tenant law dealing with security deposits and breaking a lease: Civil Code 1950.5 (security deposit), 1951.2 (breaking the lease) and 1953 (tenant’s rights in relation to lease agreement and 1950.5). Go to www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html, click on “Civil Code” and press return, then go to Title 5, Chapter 2 and click on that link (CC 1940 – 1954.1).
3. If you need legal advice, consult with Ken Carlson for 1/2 hour ($100) over the phone, or find a local attorney who specializes in landlord tenant law (California attorneys are listed on Ken Carlson’s Web site). We talked with several attorneys, and Ken was the best we found. In fact, had we listened to some of the other attorneys, Marilyn could have lost another couple thousand dollars to her former landlord. As it turns out, we applied Ken’s advice and Marilyn not only saved a lot of money, but we won in court as well. Thank you, Ken!
4. If you plan to use small claims court (or are being sued in small claims court), read through the Department of Consumer Affairs Web site devoted to the subject: http://consumer-affairs.co.la.ca.us/mnRenters.htm.
5. Learn more at the Los Angeles Superior Court Web site: http://lasuperiorcourt.org. You can also download L.A. County legal forms from this Web site.
I want to stress that this book does not cover the legalities of the small claims court system, but rather it is a strategy book geared towards helping you properly present your evidence so you’ll win in court. For the legalities and an understanding of how the small claims court system operates, consider Ken Carlson’s PDF booklet I just mentioned, or contact your local small claims court and request information from the clerk.
Knowing your legal rights as a tenant, as defined by your state law, is only part of the battle with your landlord. Remember, if your landlord keeps your deposit based on false claims, he either already knows the law or is acting out of arrogance. In either case, if you want your deposit back, you require a solid strategy that will ensure you win in court. That is the purpose of this book: to share the presentation strategy we used to win our case in small claims court.
Los Angeles, California
The Beginner's Guide to Natural Living
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And in other news, I recently wrote a review about nSphere, a company that promised to pay residual revenue to publishers, like myself, but then stopped doing so.