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?
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?
March 6, 1994 |
QUESTION: About eight months ago, we assumed tenancy of a house. This summer our landlord instructed us not to pick the fruit, that it belongs to his family and that they would be over to harvest it when it was ripe. We are responsible for maintaining and watering the yard, are we not entitled to the fruit on the trees? ANSWER: Residential rentals usually provide for exclusive use of the property by the tenants.
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.
June 23, 1999 |
Question: I started a small retail business last year and had to deposit two months' rent with my landlord. Recently, I inquired as to when I would get the money back and how much interest was earned in 1998. He advised me there was no interest. Do I have any recourse? If the landlord goes bankrupt, what happens to my deposit?
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.
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 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?