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Old 05-25-2015, 10:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 1
Angry Not getting our deposit back

We live in California and rented a house for just under two years before we were given our 60 day notice. Our landlord is now withholding our entire security deposit. The initial deposit was $4400 + $500 for a pet deposit. We are being charged over $800 in cleaning fees (Merry Maids) when the house was immaculate upon move out, $1475 to clean carpets (we had them done 2 months prior by the same company for $500) and also shampooed them ourselves on move out, and over $600 to repaint. There was nothing more than some scuffs on the wall. However, the worst part is that we are being charged $3500 for the backyard. There were 4 redwood trees out of the 18 on the property that have died due to the drought along with parts of the very small lawn we had. There are numerous dead trees in the neighborhood including the neighbors on both sides not to mention the "lawn" was patchy when we moved in, which unfortunately we have no pics of. We reseeded once but because of the restrictions it would just die. We were on a strict one day a week watering schedule which the landlord didn't care about. She wanted us to water daily. Two months prior to us moving the landlord actually had someone come out and reset our sprinklers to water each morning. This in turn caused our bill to skyrocket. And now were being charged for the removal of 4 dead trees and for them to resod. Besides the fact that there was never sod in the first place should we be charged for something we couldn't control? And what about the unreasonable charges for the interior? And she also refused to do a final walk through with us. We did decline the pre inspection just because we had no time in our schedules but did ask for a final walk through the day we moved. We need some help.
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Old 05-26-2015, 02:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 98
Security Deposit CA

In California, the landlord can withhold from the security deposit ONLY those amounts that are necessary and reasonable, and NOT a result of “ordinary and reasonable wear and tear." For example, a landlord may not make tenants pay for painting, new carpets, or curtains unless they are damaged beyond ordinary and reasonable wear and tear. And the landlord cannot use the tenant’s security deposit to repair problems that existed in the unit before the tenant moved in. The landlord can also withhold the security deposit for any unpaid rent.

If you think there is a dispute in the security deposit and believe you are entitled to the return of the deposit, The tenant can sue the landlord in small claims, which is informal and inexpensive, as long as the total amount sued for is $10,000 or less.

The tenant and landlord can also try a local consumer mediation program to see if they can resolve their dispute out of court.

Another way is to hire a experienced real estate attorney, and sometimes if you believe you have a strong case you may have the opposing party pay for part or all of the attorney fees, but this is not gauranteed. Talk to a experienced and licensed CA attorney before taking any legal action.
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