TITLE 5. HIRING
CHAPTER 4.5. DISPOSITION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY UPON
REQUEST OF TENANT
(a) A residential landlord shall not
refuse to surrender, to a residential tenant or to a residential
tenant's duly authorized representative, any personal property not
owned by the landlord which has been left on the premises after the
tenant has vacated the residential premises and the return of which
has been requested by the tenant or by the authorized representative
of the tenant if all of the following occur:
(1) The tenant requests, in writing, within 18 days of
vacating the premises, the surrender of the personal property and
the request includes a description of the personal property held by
the landlord and specifies the mailing address of the tenant.
(2) The landlord or the landlord's agent has control or
possession of the tenant's personal property at the time the request
(3) The tenant, prior to the surrender of the personal
property by the landlord and upon written demand by the landlord,
tenders payment of all reasonable costs associated with the
landlord's removal and storage of the personal property. The
landlord's demand for payment of reasonable costs associated with
the removal and storage of personal property shall be in writing and
shall either be mailed to the tenant at the address provided by the
tenant pursuant to paragraph (1) or shall be personally presented to
the tenant or to the tenant's authorized representative, within five
days after the actual receipt of the tenant's request for surrender
of the personal property, unless the property is returned first. The
demand shall itemize all charges, specifying the nature and amount
of each item of cost.
(4) The tenant agrees to claim and remove the personal
property at a reasonable time mutually agreed upon by the landlord
and tenant but not later than 72 hours after the tender provided for
under paragraph (3).
(b) For the purposes of this chapter, "reasonable costs
associated with the landlord's removal and storage of the personal
property" shall include, but not be limited to, each of the
(1) Reasonable costs actually incurred, or the reasonable
value of labor actually provided, or both, in removing the personal
property from its original location to the place of storage,
including disassembly and transportation.
(2) Reasonable storage costs actually incurred, which shall
not exceed the fair rental value of the space reasonably required
for the storage of the personal property.
(c) This chapter shall not apply when disposition of the
personal property has been initiated or completed pursuant to the
procedure set forth in Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 1980) or
the occupancy is one defined by subdivision (b) of Section 1940.
(d) A landlord who complies with this chapter shall not be
liable to any person with respect to that person's personal
property that is given to another person. In the event of
conflicting demands, the first timely request for surrender of
personal property received by the landlord shall prevail.
(e) Any landlord who retains personal
property in violation of this chapter shall be liable to the tenant
in a civil action for all the following:
(1) Actual damages not to exceed the value of the personal
property, if the personal property is not surrendered by the later
of either of the following:
(A) within a reasonable time after the tenant's request for
surrender of the personal property, or
(B) if the landlord has demanded payment of reasonable costs
associated with removal and storage and the tenant has complied with
the requirements set forth in paragraphs (3) and (4) of subdivision
(a), whichever is later. Three days is presumed to be a reasonable
time in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
(2) An amount not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars ($250)
for each bad faith violation of this section. In determining the
amount of the award, the court shall consider proof of matters as
justice may require.
(3) The court may award reasonable attorney's fees and cost
to the prevailing party.
(f) The remedy provided by this chapter is not exclusive and
shall not preclude either the landlord or the tenant from pursuing
any other remedy provided by law. Title 5, Chap. 4.5, §1965
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