Know Your Rights Regarding Security Deposits
Security deposits are one of the most disputed issues between residential landlords and tenants in California. Most landlords require security deposits for a tenant to move in, and tenants have certain rights regarding these funds. However, landlords often violate – or are accused of violating – security deposit laws. If you are a tenant, always stay aware of your rights.
Requirements for Security Deposits
Each state is different, and California sets out the following requirements and restrictions for security deposits:
- Landlords are not allowed to charge non-refundable fees for move-in to cover possible repairs in the future
- Deposits cannot be more than two months of rent for unfurnished units or three months for furnished units (it is less for active duty service members)
- The landlord must return the funds within 21 days of the move-out date
- Landlords must inform tenants ahead of time if they plan to deduct from the funds for repairs
Landlords are responsible for the costs of the normal wear and tear of a unit. The longer a certain tenant lives in a unit, the more wear and tear the landlord should expect. This means that a landlord cannot deduct from the security deposit for faded curtains, mineral deposits in toilets, or minor nicks in cabinets or walls.
On the other hand, landlords can deduct for cleaning or repairs of any dirt, stains, or damage that go beyond normal wear and tear. The landlord should notify you of any intention to deduct from your deposit and of the repairs needed, and then should return the remaining funds within the required time frame.
Consult with Our Encino Landlord-Tenant Attorney Today
At Urbach Law Offices, PC, we help both landlords and tenants with a wide range of legal disputes and concerns. Contact us online or call 888.212.9072 to discuss your situation and how we might help.