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Can a landord charge a $950.00 security deposit on an $850 a month apt?

San Pedro, CA |

My lease states the $950 I gave my landlord,along with the first moth's rent, was a refundable security deposit. I was also told he always keeps $100-150 on move out even if the aprtment is clean and undamaged. Is it legal to charge this amt for a security deposit and keep money if there is no damage and the aprtment is clean? NOT RSO.

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Attorney answers 3


Your landlord can charge up to two months rent for an unfurnished apartment (three months for a furnished one) as a security deposit. Your landlord must refund any portion of the security deposit when you move out of the rental, except for sums the law allows the landlord to keep in any one or more of the following situations:
• You owe rent;
• You leave the rental less clean than when you moved in;
• You have damaged the rental beyond normal wear and tear; and
• You fail to restore personal property (such as keys or furniture), other than because of normal wear and tear.

For more on your rights as a tenant see this publication: California

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Yes, the landlord may ask for a security deposit of $950 when your monthly rent is $850.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.


Yes. Under California law, your landlord can charge up to two month

Pursuant to CA Civil Code section 1950.5, within 21 days after you move out, your landlord must refund any portion of the security deposit when you move out of the rental, except for sums the law allows the landlord to keep under Civil Code section 1950.5 (but the landlord must provide you with an itemized deduction within the 21 days).

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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