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Did I have legal right to withhold most of security deposit?

Sacramento, CA |

We didn't get the keys until 8 pm. They patched nail holes with the wrong color paint. Our walls were basically polka dotted. Charged them 30/hr per person (myself and husband) plus supplies to paint master bedroom and living room. Also, 3 hours of yard work at 30/hr x1 person.. They left a water bill behind which I deducted and they did not have carpets professionally cleaned as I requested being I let them have pets. They had Direct TV install satalites and they drilled thru garage wall into kitchen wall (unauthorized) for an outlet which the house was bought prewired for cable. I received a $950 estimate for damage to cost to remove wires and satalites and repair wall. Estimate and damage exceeded their deposit. Being that I felt they were good tenants I returned only $250 vs nothing

Attorney Answers 3


  1. The main purpose of the security deposit is to protect you from expenses incurred by tenants. If the costs of repair amounted to the total amount of the deposit, then yes, you could have kept all of it.

    Hope this helps!

    Armen Taslakian. 818. 937.3590. www.TaslakianLaw.com. Note: Armen Taslakian is an attorney licensed in the State of California. The answer is provided for informational use only. One should not act or refrain to act solely based on the information provided. No attorney/client relationship is created unless an Agreement is signed by the attorney and the client.


  2. I am not sure what not getting the keys until 8 p.m. had to do with the security deposit. If $30 hourly is reasonable, then you can charge them that.

    The security deposit can only be used for cleaning, repairs, and unpaid rent. Unless the water bill is included in rent, that amount does not properly come out of the security deposit. Otherwise, the rest looks fine.


  3. I'm not sure how much you kept after returning the $250. If you kept less than $950, for example, that seems fine. But if you kept $2500, that might be a different story. It depends on how much the security deposit was.

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