I relocated to CA and signed a lease from out-of-state. The lease ran six-months and then automatically converted to month-to-month. On Feb 7, my landlord gave notice that rent would increase effective Mar 7. We elected to move out and gave notice on Feb 9 (the only condition the lease specified for notice was one month notice). I have several emails documenting our agreement we would move out and the lease would end Mar 7. When we moved in, we paid security deposit, nonrefundable pet deposit, and 1/2 the last months rent. After we moved out, the landlord returned only the security deposit and a note saying "thank you for your cleanliness" but did not return the 6 days of unused rent. This leaves me with three questions:
1. Doesn't the landlord owe me the prorated portion of the last 1/2 month for the 6 unused days? The landlord is making some bizarre argument about the lease not being day-to-day and my option was to stay until the 15th or forfeit the remaining balance (which must not apply to him since he raised the rent on the 7th).
2. Is the nonrefundable pet deposit legal? My reading of CA 1950.5 makes it sound like no portion of the deposit can be "non-refundable". I agreed to this provision when I moved in and it was legal in the state I moved from (NJ), but if this is going to end up in small claims I feel like I should go after this amount as well.
3. The idea of court - even small claims - makes me a touch nervous. Should I seek counsel to help prep me, write the demand letter, submit appropriate filings, etc? In CA, lawyers may not represent parties in small claims court.