A landlord may recover rental property if the tenant abandons the premises. [See CC §§1951.2, 1951.3, 1951.4.] The landlord may establish abandonment pursuant to CC §1951.3:
- The landlord must have given written notice to the tenant, stating the landlord’s belief that the tenant has abandoned the property and including a termination date.
- The tenant must then have failed to give the landlord written notice, before the termination date, stating that he or she does not intend to abandon the property and providing an address for service of a UD action.
Tenant abandonment is essentially a landlord’s tool for recovering rented premises without getting a UD judgment, but it carries some risk—if the landlord is mistaken about the abandonment, he or she may face a claim for wrongful eviction. [See Kassan v Stout (1973) 9 C3d 39, 43.] Therefore, strict compliance with CC §1951.3 is critical.
Cost of repair damages are not recoverable by a lessor during the lease term for breach of maintenance and repair covenants. A landlord may recover cost of repair damages only in a lawsuit brought after the lease has expired or been terminated; before then, the landlord's damages are limited to the amount of injury to the reversion interest. [Avalon Pacific-Santa Ana, LP v HD Supply Repair and Remodel, LLP (2011) 192 CA4th 1183, 1200–1202.]