What laws did my former landlord violate by deducting from my security deposit rent/state fees I already paid ?
1 attorney answer
Under Civil Code 1950.5, the landlord may only make deductions from your security deposit for unpaid rent, cleaning and damages beyond normal wear and tear. The landlord is also supposed to return your security deposit within 21 days of termination of the rental agreement and provide an itemized breakdown of any deductions, including receipts for any materials or third party services plus the hours and rates for the landlord's employees used. If the landlord retains your security deposit in bad faith, you can recover treble damages.
You should strongly consider documenting the landlord's failure to timely refund your security deposit by sending the landlord a letter pointing out the fact the more than 21 days has passed since you moved out, but you have not received your security deposit or itemized breakdown of any deductions with receipts.
If the landlord fails to comply with Civil Code 1950.5, the landlord is required to refund your entire deposit. Granberry v. Islay Investments, 9 Cal.4th 738, 745 (1995). However, the landlord can still sue you for damages to the property and/or unpaid rent.
Ultimately, the landlord fails to refund your deposit, you may have to sue the landlord in small claims.