Security Deposit

The most common dispute between landlords and tenants involve the refund of the tenant’s security deposit after the tenant has moved out.  As a result, California law specifies the procedures that a landlord must follow for refunding and accounting for the tenant’s security deposit. If the landlord does not, the tenant may have a solid case against the landlord. Knowing what the laws are, will be key to dealing with your security deposit disputes.

Security Deposit  Non-refundable

Most people are unaware that the security deposit cannot be non-refundable. The landlord is allowed to use the security deposit for unpaid rent, for cleaning the unit when the tenant moves out, but only to make it as clean as it was when the tenant moved in, and for repairs that are beyond normal wear and tear. A landlord can only withhold from the deposit, those amounts that are reasonably necessary for these purposes.  The security deposit cannot be used for repairing conditions that existed when the tenant moved into the property The security deposit cannot be used to clean the place if the tenant left the property as clean as it was when the tenant moved in.

The landlord must provide either refund the full amount to the tenant withing 21 days of the tenant moving out. If the Landlord doesn’t, the landlord must provide an itemized list of any deductions along with a refund of the remaining amounts.  The landlord also must send to the tenant receipts for any of the repairs that were done.

Experienced Security Deposit Attorney

This area of the law can be tricky and full of potholes for the unwary landlord or tenant. Working with an experienced attorney will make this process less of a headache. Sean Gavin is an experienced Security Deposit attorney and has handled hundreds of these cases.  He knows the laws and knows how to apply them to your situation.  If you have a security deposit problem contact Sean Gavin at 916-779-3500 or on the web at