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Security Deposit

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?
January 24, 2008 | Michelle Steel, Michelle Steel is a Board of Equalization member representing the 3rd District, which includes a portion of Los Angeles.
At a time when state budget problems are causing widespread pain, here's one more piece of bad news: California owes millions of dollars to small-business owners. The Board of Equalization, the ultimate authority on California tax law, requires roughly 30,000 businesses to pay a returnable tax security deposit. However, a major agency oversight has delayed tax refunds for thousands of small businesses.
February 8, 1998 | From Project Sentinel
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.
May 2, 1993 | KEVIN POSTEMA, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES: Postema is the editor of Apartment Age magazine, a publication of the Apartment Assn. of Greater Los Angeles, an apartment owners' service group
QUESTION: When I moved into my Long Beach apartment about a year ago, the rental agreement said that there were absolutely no pets allowed. I even asked if I could pay more security deposit and possibly have a pet. I was told that I could not. At the same time, the woman who lived upstairs from me had a dog. Granted it was a very old and sick dog that I never heard bark and was probably incapable of doing any damage. But, my feeling is that a dog is a dog.
December 26, 2012 | By Chris O'Brien
Here's a nice holiday treat for the heirs of Steve Jobs. A dispute over the Apple founder's yacht has been resolved and the good ship Venus could soon be on its way to the United States.  According to Agence France-Press , the Jobs estate paid a deposit of an unspecified amount to designer Philippe Starck, who claimed he had not been paid all he was owed for his role in crafting the $127-million boat. "The Venus is no longer impounded; we have found a solution," Gerard Moussault, a lawyer for Jobs' heirs, told AFP on Monday. "A security deposit was paid into a bank account, but I cannot say for how much.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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