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Tenant Lease in Ca Not Started

Trying to help out a friend who signed a 1 year lease and paid 1st months and security deposit 3 weeks prior to lease start. Changed his mind and 2 weeks prior called and cancelled. Never received signed lease by landlord, never given disclosures ( i.e. lead based paint, asbestos ). Landlord not answering, sent certified letter prior to lease start saying no contract. Landlord not responding and looks like keeping the money. What are tenants options, is this a valid lease? Can friend file small claims and how much to demand. Any advice or suggestions welcome. This is in Los Angeles area.
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Yes your friend would want to follow this up in small claims court. If the lease is not a valid lease to this could help weed out a bad landlord. Also you will need to have proof of money transactions and all of the landlord information and a lawyer! Good Luck
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