I read this: "Within a reasonable time after either the landlord or the tenant gives notice of termination of the tenancy or before the end of the lease term, the landlord must generally notify the tenant in writing of the tenant's option to request a pre-move out inspection and of the tenant's right to be present at the inspection."

Now what happens if landlord (who is a paralegal so knows what he is doing) fails to notify tenant of the option to request an inspection? Tenant invites landlord to the premises but landlord cancels in the last minute, on checkout day.

The invitation didn't explicitly request an inspection but it was implied in the fact that the location was on premises.

Would tenant have a case against the landlord's itemized list based on the fact that the inspection was carefully avoided?

1 Answer 1


Under Cal. Civ. 1950.5(f)

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

Since the law also specifies the form of the notice, it is not a reasonable inference that writing can be dispensed with if a tenant seems to have knowledge of the option. So the landlord has violated the law. The tenant is supposed to either decline the option (discharging the landlord's obligation), or request an inspection. Then comes the scheduling at a mutually acceptable date and time, with at least 48 hours' prior written notice of the date and time of the inspection (the 48-hour requirement can be modified with a written waiver signed by both parties). Then the inspection shall proceed, and the landlord presents a list of deficiencies to the tenant. It seems that you're at that stage.

Right at this very minute, it's not clear that you have been damaged: you've simply been notified of the deficiencies that could result in some of the security deposit being retained. The first solution is therefore to remedy those deficiencies, as you would have done, had things followed stipulated procedure. Various reasons come to mind why that might not be a reasonable option (landlord already cleaned it up and charged you; your work schedule precludes timely implement of clean-up, or the fact that you moved far away).

It's not clear that the landlord avoided the inspection – it sounds like he did inspect the place, just not in your presence (there is also a requirement for the form of giving notice about deficiencies: was that law followed?). The thing to focus on is that the law gives you the right to an inspection at a reasonable time before move-out, so that you can remedy any deficiencies. See para 3:

The tenant shall have the opportunity during the period following the initial inspection until termination of the tenancy to remedy identified deficiencies, in a manner consistent with the rights and obligations of the parties under the rental agreement, in order to avoid deductions from the security.

The law then allows you to maintain an action in small claims court against the landlord for the amount retained by the landlord.

  • Thank you for replying and let me clarify. We did move away already when the landlord started to inspect the place. He didn't offer a pre-checkout inspection nor did he accept our invitation. Naturally, the inspection concluded that pretty much everything in the house needs replacing. Does this quality for a small claims action?
    – Gabor
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 18:41
  • 1
    Assuming, primarily, that you didn't delay requesting the inspection and as you say he failed to notify you of your right to an inspection, I don't see what defense there could be.
    – user6726
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 4:44

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