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Can return of tenants security deposit via check release landlord from all claims tenant has, Landlord wrote that on the check?

Atascadero, CA |

I received a full return of my security deposit. Landlord wrote on the check in the memo area; "Paid in full, includes security deposit refund & all claims (past, present & future) by tenant".

If I cash the check will I be releasing my landlord from any and all claims I have against him?

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Attorney answers 3


Not if you cross it out before you endorse it. See CA Civil Code section 1526.

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In Texas you can't limit liability by a simple check notation.. I would not only cross out the language, but initial it. Then, make a photocopy. You may need proof at a later date.


The landlord is supposed to return your security deposit "without condition." In other words, he cannot condition your receipt of the money that you have a right to receive on your agreement to give up other claims.

The effect of a landlord's attempt to include such a condition is not clear. The attempt to impose a condition may be invalid. It may also mean that you can return the check, so that the landlord has not complied with the obligation to pay you your deposit within 21 days.

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