December 17, 2013

Know Your Rights Regarding Security Deposits

California is a very renter-friendly state and affords many protections for tenants. However, many are unaware of the legal rights accorded them–especially regarding security deposits.

Security Deposit Amounts:

Nearly every residential lease agreement in California contains a security deposit provision. Generally, this is one month’s rent. However, it can be no more than two month’s rent for an unfurnished unit and no more than three month’s rent for a furnished unit. If your prospective landlord attempts to charge you a higher security deposit, consult with a tenants’ rights attorney at Beverly Hills Law Corp., PC. We can help you assert your rights.

Security Deposit Uses:

There are also limits on what a security deposit can be used for. Under California Civil Code sections 1950.5(b), (e) the landlord can only use a tenant’s security for the following:

  • For unpaid rent.
  • For cleaning the rental unit when the tenant moves out, but only to make the unit as clean as it was when the tenant first moved in.
  • For repair of damages, other than normal wear and tear, caused by the tenant or the tenant’s guests.
  • If the lease or rental agreement allows it, for the cost of restoring or replacing furniture, furnishings, or other items of personal property (including keys), other than because of normal wear and tear.

Security Deposit Return:

California law requires landlords to return your security deposit within 21 days from the date you move or provide you with an itemized statement detailing all of the deductions that were made.

If your landlord has not complied with these requirements, an attorney from Beverly Hills Law Corp., PC can write a letter to your landlord on your behalf demanding compliance with the law. We can also assist you in determining whether the items your security deposit were used for fit validly within the law. These measures can be an efficient and cost-effective way to get back your security deposit.

Feel free to contact us if you’re uncertain whether you’re being treated in a lawful manner.

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