July 25, 1999 |
Question: I rent a unit at a small apartment complex. I paid an $800 security deposit, and my monthly rent is $600. I will be vacating my apartment soon and have become aware that the owner has a poor reputation for the handling of security deposits. There are unpaid court judgments from vendors and suppliers, plus unpaid judgments owed to tenants for bad-faith retention of security deposits. I am concerned that I will not get my security deposit. What can I do?
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 2, 1995 |
QUESTION: My new rental agreement has a clause that worries me. It states that if I do not pay rent on the due date, the property owner can change the locks and remove my property without notice. Is this legal? ANSWER: Under Section 789.3 of the California Civil Code it is illegal for a landlord to lock out a tenant by changing the locks, shutting off the utilities or any other method.
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?
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.
January 21, 2001
In "State Law Specifies Expenses Covered by Security Deposit" by Kevin Postema (Dec. 31), the question asked was: Can a deduction be taken for repainting after a 2 1/2 year tenancy? The answer suggested that half the cost could be deducted. The California Department of Consumer Affairs publication "California Tenants: A Guide to Residential Tenants' and Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities" states that a deduction is permitted only when repainting is necessary. The publication also states that there should be no deduction when the length of stay is two or more years.
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 8, 2001 |
Question: Our landlord in Los Angeles recently gave us a rent increase. He also is asking for more deposit money on top of the rent increase. Is this right? Please let me know if I may dispute the security deposit increase. Answer: Security deposit maximum amounts are limited by law to two times the monthly rent for unfurnished apartments and three times for furnished.