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June 03, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, June 03, 2005

Rent Watch Rent Watch (June 03, 2005)

QUESTION: I'm very good friends with the resident manager of the complex I live in. Recently we were discussing the "pre-departure inspection" law that went into effect January 2004. She says the tenant must ask for the inspection and I said the landlord or the agent has to offer the inspection. Who is correct?
ANSWER: The short answer is that you are correct and here's why. Civil Code 1950.5 states that once a landlord or their agent becomes aware that a tenant is moving, the landlord or agent "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 inspection is to be no earlier than two weeks before the tenant's last day. Civil Code 1950.5 continues to state the inspection date must be scheduled at the convenience of all parties, the landlord must give a 48-hour written notice confirming the appointment, and the tenant should be given an itemized statement specifying repairs or cleaning that may affect deductions from the tenant's security deposit. By receiving the itemized statement, a tenant then has the option of either performing the repairs or cleaning or not.

The only exceptions are hidden damage, such as stains under furniture, or damage caused during the subsequent move-out. It is good practice for both parties to conduct a second walk-through inspection after move-out to document if any of these exceptions exist. At the same time, both parties should take still photographs of the entire unit to document the overall level of repair and cleanliness.
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