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My landlord is charging me a ridiculous amount for deposit.

San Diego, CA |

I moved from one unit to another more bigger in the same building complex. From the beginning I was told it could be some money to replace the floor because it was scratch from moving the furniture around. But now I have a bill to pay of 933 plus they took my 800 deposit which is a total of 1700. I dont have pictures. I trusted them. They did not give me any receipt for any of the fixing done. They also are charging me with the paint, I lived there for 1 year and 9 months. The apartment I currently live had a lot of issues and have not been fixed completely.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. You haver a number of options depending on facts you did not post--bottom line up front: you may have to take LL to small claims, sounds as though you have a strong case--may turn on showing that the floor scratch was not worth $1700--expert witness maybe--that'll cost quite a bit. The other things you mention MAY be circumstances that form the basis of a counter-suit, but no way to tell on the facts you posted.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I am providing educational instruction only--not legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.


  2. Your options are to either do nothing (hoping the landlord doesn't sue you for the $933), or sue the landlord for the $800 deposit in small claims court and defend against a counterclaim for the $933.

    Under California Civil Code section 1950.5, within 21 calendar days after a tenant moves out, the landlord must either send a full refund of the security deposit, or mail or personally deliver to the tenant an itemized statement that lists the amounts of any deductions from the security deposit and the reasons for the deductions, together with a refund of any amounts not deducted.

    Pursuant to Civil Code section 1950.5, the landlord may only use the tenant's security deposit for four purposes:

    1) For unpaid rent;

    2) For cleaning the rental unit when the tenant moves out (but only to make the unit as clean as it was when the tenant first moved in);

    3) For repair of damages, other than normal wear and tear, caused by the tenant or the tenant's guests; and

    4) If the lease or rental agreement allows it, for the cost of restoring or replacing furniture, furnishings, or other items of personal property other than because of normal wear and tear.

    A tenant who does not receive a return of the security deposit from the landlord will often need to sue the landlord in small claims court to get the security deposit back. However, the risk is that the landlord will likely countersue the tenant for damages above and beyond what the security deposit covered.

    How long ago did you move out? According to the California Supreme Court decision in the case of Granberry v. Islay Investments (1995) 9 Cal.4th 738, 745, after the 21 days have transpired, the landlord loses the right to keep any of the security deposit and must return the entire deposit to the tenant.

    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 Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.


  3. He has to give you a breakdown of the charges within 21 days o you moving out. Since e has not done that, that could be your way o getting your money back. You should seek advise from an attorney in your area

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