Security deposit

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Submitted by jimmy1977 on September 9, 2013 - 8:52am

Hi Piggs

Wanted to get everyone's opinion to see if I got shafted and should try to get my money back.

My situation we rented a townhome 2 years 10 months ago in Scripps Ranch. When we moved in the house was pretty dirty, we had spiders crawling everywhere, a layer of dust on the floor, a thick layer of dust on the fan, the garage was completely covered in dirt. I have noted all of these down and sent a copy to the landlord/rental agency. I should note that I didn't take any pictures when we moved in or out, my mistake.

When we moved out we called cleaners to clean the place and also had the carper shampooed. When I did a move out check with the rental agent she mentioned to me that there were a few stains on the refrigerator, a small stain on the dining room wall and discoloration on the railings. We moved out on the 8th of August and did this inspection on the 10th of August. (Nothing was provided in writing) I told her at that point that she must check with the move in list to asses the state of the house. I provided her with the receipts for the cleaning of the house and carpet.

This weekend after (Sept 7 2013) nearly 28 days later she tells us she has deducted around $450.00 from my security deposit. I haven't gotten any other communication from them. I have read online that she must provide me a written list of things to fix within 21 days. Also she needs to provide me with a itemized list of repairs and the cost of each of them.
Since I didn't receive either and I feel I left the house in a better condition that when we moved in, should I pursue this in small claims court. (I understand it will take sometime resolve this but I think this is a matter of principle). Thanks for the advice.


Submitted by ucodegen on September 9, 2013 - 2:20pm.

First, demand that she fit the legal requirements (itemized list) for the list of repairs and cost. If you can find the section from CA law.. quote it. This way it is easier to start dealing with what may or may not have been correctly charged.

PS: Always take pictures.. before and after.

Submitted by Cube on September 10, 2013 - 1:36am.

If they didn't get you either the list or the full refund within 21 days, you're entitled to the whole deposit back with no deductions. (It's *possible* that a postmark within 21 days would still count...)

I once had a property management firm fail to get me either the full deposit or an itemized list of deductions in 21 days. When they did send the list of deductions, and I pointed out to them that they were past 21 days, they were profusely apologetic and returned my full deposit ASAP. I was expecting a fight, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Given all my other experiences with propery management firms, though, I'd expect you have an uphill battle. However, if you've given us all the facts, then you probably have a case.

Under California law, 21 calendar days or less after you move, your landlord must either:

Send you a full refund of your security deposit, or
Mail or personally deliver to you an itemized statement that lists the amounts of any deductions from your security deposit and the reasons for the deductions, together with a refund of any amounts not deducted.

All that said, it sounds like you went the extra mile to have the carpets shampooed and provide receipts, etc. You sound like you were a stellar tenant, and she should be thankful that you did the majority of the prep work for the next tenant for her. She really gives honest, competent landlords a bad name.

Submitted by jimmy1977 on September 10, 2013 - 10:10am.

Thanks everyone for the replies I am writing her a letter to see sending it certified demanding that she send me the list of issues she had to fix and also demand she send me the receipts. At this point I am thinking of going the small courts way in case she doesn't respond to my letter.

Will keep you posted (thanks for the link)


Submitted by HLS on September 10, 2013 - 10:46am.

Why bother asking for a list ?
If their statement to you was more than 21 days after termination, just ask for a FULL refund of your deposit. Period.
Why would you want to get in a discussion with them about what was done/not done... needed/not needed. ???

Regardless of what a tenant does, a landlord can always say that they weren't happy with what you paid for to have done, and have it done by 'their people' and charge you for it anyway.

Unless you have a specific understanding IN WRITING with a landlord that they will accept the work that you have done, just leave a place broom clean and lock the door on your way out.

There are so many idiot landlords, there is a good chance you will end up paying for the same item twice.

This is such a simple subject that so many tenants make complicated.
Your rent includes 'normal' wear & tear.
If you don't know what that means then take your landlord to small claims court and let the judge decide.

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