San Diego Housing Market News and Analysis
Should I go after my previous landlord for my security deposit ?
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Submitted by WestCoastNole on August 24, 2009 - 1:02pm
I moved out of a rental house that we occupied for approximately two years at the beginning of the month. Back in May we signed a Lease extension through June of next year, but then we encountered some serious issues with the neighbors and had to get the hell out of there.
We gave the landlord 30 days notice, hired professional cleaners and carpet cleaners, left the house in better shape than we moved into it, AND at the request of my landlord, obtained the services of a gardener to spruce up the yard ( i.e. another 200 out of my pocket) - When I contacted him and asked him when I could be expecting my security depoit back, he seemed genuinely surprised ( I suppose because we were breaking the lease ?) - I met him at the property later that day and he pointed to several minor items that in my opinion fall into the category of "Fair Wear and Tear" ( i.e. a ding in a wall here, a room that needed to be painted, ... etc ) - I have searched high and low in the rental agreement and was not able to locate any clause that speaks to a penalty for early lease termination (i.e. "Either Landlord or Tenant may terminate this lease at the expiration of said Lease or any extension thereof by giving the other thirty (30) days written notice prior to the due date." - We extended the lease on three seperate occasions )
At the end of the day, more than 14 days has expired since we have terminated the lease and the landlord has NOT sent me an itemized statement documenting what he is claiming as expenses against my security deposit.
My question is - is there any reason why I should NOT contact him and demand the return of our security deposit - if he refuses, should I file a claim in small claims court or hire a lawyer ? It seems to me that the law is pretty clear in this case, and that a verbal notice that "I am not going to return any security deposit" is insufficient ...
Please let me know if you have any insight and/or advice for someone in this situation !
Thanks in advance for all of your help !
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