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 25, 2012 |
Three days after listing a house for sale, real estate agents Richard and Jean Murphy of Portland, Maine, began receiving a surprising number of calls — not from buyers but from would-be tenants. It turns out the callers were answering an ad that said the place was for rent, "and at a really low price," the agents for Harborview Properties recall. Worse, the "owner" was not the Murphys' client. It was someone living in another state who told callers that if they sent $1,500, the place would be theirs.
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 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.
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.
January 24, 2008 |
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.