In 2007 the property I am renting was sold. The landlord never told me she was selling the property, I found out through the realtor showing up at my door that the house was being sold. When I asked what would happen to my security deposit, the realtor told me it would be transferred to the new owners. After the property was sold, I tried to contact the previous landlord, but my calls went ignored. I saw the realtor one last time and was told that the check for my deposit was written out to the new owner. I never signed a new lease or filled out any paperwork for the new owners. Now years later I asked about my deposit and was told that the previous owners never transferred it and if I was to move I would get nothing, no deposit back. Do I have any action here to get my deposit back?
Yes. The new owner is responsible for your security deposit whether it was transferred to them or not:."If the selling landlord fails to either return the tenants' security deposits to the tenants or transfer them to the new owner, both the new landlord and the selling landlord are legally responsible to the tenants for the security deposits. If the selling landlord and the security deposits can't be found, the new landlord must refund all security deposits (after any proper deductions) as tenants move out."
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You would likely be able to bring suit against BOTH landlords if origninal owner failed to transfer to the new owner and failed to return the SD to you.
In addition your present landlord will be required to refund (less deductions as appropriate) the SD when you terminate if the original landlord can't be located. Check with a CA landlord tenant attorney, but you appear to be in a strong position--though I'll bet your current landlord won't be too happy to hear it......
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General Practice Lawyer
Yes, see Civil Code section 1950.5(h)(1)-(2) for the location of your answer. Both are liable, sue them both.
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