california rental laws Do I have to give back a deposit to the renter, who did…

california rental laws
Do I have to give back a deposit to the renter, who did not occupy the residence but informed me that she no longer wanted to rent 6 days later. We signed the rental agreement and did a walk thru of the home.

3 thoughts on “california rental laws Do I have to give back a deposit to the renter, who did…

  1. Re: california rental laws
    The previous answer is pretty much correct if this was to be a month-to-month rental. The reference to 1950.5 is to the California Civil Code, and this is a rather lengthy section covering residential rental deposits and refunds.

    The answer is somewhat different if the tenant signed, and is now breaching, a long-term lease, say for one year. Such a lease nominally binds the tenant to pay rent for the entire term. However, no court would award you 12 months rent as damages without your also showing that you tried to mitigate your damages by re-leasing to another tenant and were unable to do so. Your damages would be limited to what you lost despite a sincere effort to hold down your losses.

    I’d suggest you buy and study one or more paperback self-help law books on the topic(s) of landlording and tenant rights. You seem to be a beginner and self-study of at least two of these books from cover to cover will keep you out of messes that can be unpleasant and costly.

    Bryan Whipple
    Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
    P O Box 318
    Tomales, CA 94971-0318

  2. Re: california rental laws
    Need more info. Did the renter sign. If so, the deposit is security for lost rent. Rerent the premises and deduct the unpaid rent for the term from the security , refunding the difference.

    Mitchell Roth
    MW Roth, Professional Law Corporation
    13245 Riverside Dr. Suite 320
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

  3. Re: california rental laws
    The landlord is entitled to 30 days written notice of a tenant’s intention to terminate the rental agreement unless the parties mutually agree to a different time period. If she did not give you written notice you might be able to keep the deposit, but you will have to account for it as unpaid rent due for the period uncovered by the first month’s rent, in writing, stating your reason for retaining it within twenty-one days after the premises were surrendered to you (i.e. she turned in the keys and was out of possession). See Civil Code, section 1950.5. This approach may be tricky, since there will be an issue of her abandonment of the premises, and the equities (i.e. fairness) will probably be against you if she files a small claims action to get her deposit back. Again, see section 1950.5.


    This reply constitutes legal information for educational purposes only and does NOT constitute legal advice nor establish an attorney-client relationship.

    Stanley Moerbeek
    The Law Offices of Stanley L Moerbeek
    1370 N. Brea Boulevard, Suite 210
    Fullerton, CA 92835

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