Security/Cleaning Deposit I live in California.

Security/Cleaning Deposit
I live in California. My renters are on a ”month to month” basis. I had collected one months’ worth of rent and called it a ”security/cleaning” deposit. The agreement states that tenant ”must give a 30 day notice” but I did not specify a penalty. The agreement also states later that the deposit ”is not to be used for last months rent”. Our renter gave us no notice and moved out in 1 day. I still have his deposit and want to keep it because I have not found another renter even after lowering the rent by $200. What am I entitled to based on the above mentioned stipulations in the agreement? What can I do legally?

2 thoughts on “Security/Cleaning Deposit I live in California.

  1. Re: Security/Cleaning Deposit
    You are required to send an itemization regarding security deposit/last month’s rent within 3 weeks of when they vacate.

    You may deduct from that any unpaid rent (30 days in your case, because they are required to give 30 days notice, even if that was not in the contract).

    You may also deduct for the cost of repairing any damage, other than normal wear and tear. They are required to return the property to you as they found it.

    If damages exceed the deposit amount, you may sue them (probably in small claims court) for the excess over the deposit.

    Make sure you mail them the statement to their new address, if they gave it to you, or to the rental address, if they did not give you one.

    Ken Koenen
    Koenen & Tokunaga, P.C.
    5776 Stoneridge Mall Rd., Suite 350
    Pleasanton, CA 94588

  2. Re: Security/Cleaning Deposit
    Assuming there was no other prepaid rent, i.e. that the tenant moved out on the day an additional 30 days’ rent was due, you would be entitled to retain the entire deposit. Since actually moving out is constructive notice, if there were, say, 10 days already paid for at the time of the move-out, you could only retain 20 days worth of deposit. Of course, to this you could add any legitimate cleaning and repair expense and maybe some advertising expense. As a precaution I would prepare a final accounting of all this and send a copy to the former tenant wherever he/she can be found, or otherwise hold onto it along with photo evidence of the condition of the place pending an attempt by the tenant to collect the deposit, or part of it, which should fail if you have marshaled your evidence.

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

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