January 20, 2002 |
Question: Must the owner place security deposits into a separate account? Must this account be interest-bearing for the benefit of the tenants? Property manager Robert Griswold replies: The owner is not required to place the deposit into a separate account but must be able to properly return the security deposit (after making lawfully allowed deductions) within 21 days as required by California law.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 26, 1999
* What is a security deposit? A security deposit is any payment, fee, deposit or charge, other than the first month's rent that you pay when you move in. Deposits such as cleaning fees, key deposits, pet deposits and last month's rent are all security deposits. * How much security deposit can a landlord charge? The security deposit cannot be more than two months' rent for an unfurnished rental unit, or three months' rent if furnished. * What can the security deposit be used for?
February 8, 1998 |
QUESTION: Since I started renting out my condo, I explained to all my tenants that for their protection, I change the locks at the end of each tenancy and deduct a modest amount from their security to pay for the new locks. I even included a paragraph in my rental agreement, signed by me and my tenants, explaining that tenants are responsible for the cost of re-keying the unit.
March 7, 1999 |
Question: I rent a large home and I am the only tenant on the one-year lease. I am thinking of adding a couple of roommates to reduce the cost of my rent. Can I collect a share of the security deposit from my new roommates without serious legal ramifications? Steven R. Kellman, director of the Tenants' Legal Center, replies: The security deposit follows the lease. If the new tenants move in, the deposit, as between the landlord and original tenant, is not affected.
July 1, 2001 |
Question: My last landlord withheld $250 of a $1,000 deposit for carpet cleaning and replacement of irrigation sprinkler heads. I believe this is normal maintenance. We vacuumed and cleaned the house well and thought that things such as carpet shampooing were the responsibility of the landlord. As for the irrigation sprinkler heads, they were all working when we left; however, the house was vacant for a while before the landlord re-rented it. Do we have recourse or are we being picky?
July 5, 1987
The language of the S. J. Diamond column on leases ("Tenants Should Know a Lease Isn't the Law," June 22) creates the impression that a landlord is not allowed to charge any fee for cleaning the apartment of an outgoing tenant. Certainly, an apartment owner may not charge a renter for damages that preceded his or her tenancy; however, the story implies that an owner may not charge a present renter for damage and cleaning related to his tenancy. The law and the courts do indeed allow owners to use the security deposit to clean apartments upon the termination of tenancies.
September 6, 2003 |
I run a small business in Southern California, and that business is being a landlord. I can think of few other businesses in which the law so heavily favors the customer (tenant) and so punishes the proprietor (landlord). There are many remedies available for tenants who feel mistreated. Yet what can a landlord do when she is mistreated by a tenant? Let me share a few stories with you.
September 19, 1999 |
Question: My tenant recently moved out at the end of the lease. I made a quick walk-through of the rental unit and things seemed to be fine so I immediately returned the entire security deposit. A week later when I went through the unit more carefully, I found there were several costly items (oven, garbage disposal and dishwasher) that were broken by the tenant's negligence. Can I recover the cost of repairing these items? If so, how?
January 16, 2000 |
Question: At the end of last month I moved from my apartment, after nearly six years. During my move-out inspection with the managers, they indicated that I would receive $750 of my $800 security deposit. How long does the manager-owner have to return my security deposit and am I due any interest? Property manager Griswold replies: There is no statewide legal requirement in California for landlords to pay interest on your security deposit.
April 11, 2002
"Renters Serve Notice to Landlords" (April 5) indicates that AB 2330 would allow "tenants who are charged two months' rent as a security deposit to pay in installments" and that "tenants who have lost their jobs would be able to use part of their security deposit as an emergency rent payment." What part of "security deposit" does Assemblywoman Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) not understand? Once a tenant has moved in, the prepaid security deposit is the major measure of insurance the owner has that the tenants will abide by their agreement.