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As a landlord what are my rights if a tenant refuses to pay an increased security deposit?

Ventura, CA |

The tenant is on a month-to-month lease and we have recently increased the rent. Along with this, we have increased the security deposit. The tenant sent in a check for the increased rent but nothing for the security deposit. In the lease that we took over from the previous owner, there is nothing that prohibits us from raising the deposit. The tenant argued that the lease doesn't state we have the option to raise the deposit.

How should we respond and how much time should we give the tenant to comply? If they don't, is it grounds for eviction? Should we not cash the increased rent check yet?

Attorney Answers 2


You don't indicate how you informed the tenant of the increased security deposit requirement. Did you serve a written 30 day notice regarding the deposit? If so, assuming the tenant is a month to month tenant, the recourse for the landlord is to serve a 3 day notice to perform or quit, followed by an unlawful detainer lawsuit if the tenant fails to comply.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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We sent a 35 day written notice increasing rent and security deposit. The person who pays the rent for the tenant was at a different address. We sent a second notice at that point to the correct address but didn't adjust the due date. They questioned the increase in deposit but when we told them it was allowed, they didn't respond. They paid the rent increase on schedule. So what they are doing is the same as not paying rent?


Yes you can ask for an increased rent deposit, in addition to increasing the rent. If you gave proper notice of the increase and they did not pay, then you can give them a 3 day notice and start the eviction process.
But, I have to ask you, is it worth it to you to evict a tenant that is paying increase rent just because they don't want to pay additional deposit? I would rather have a good tenant that pays the rent on time than a few hundred extra dollars on deposit.

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