North Hollywood, CA asked in Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: Hi, it's been 40 days since I moved and have not received my security deposit despite manager saying she would send it.

Hi, on May 1st I moved from an apartment where I lived 4 years, although leasing Manager said we would get our $500 deposit back due to the good condition of the apartment, as of today I have not received the deposit nor any letter. She asked for my current address so I emailed and text it to her. I called a couple times and left messages but haven't had a call back. Yesterday around 2 was the last time I called. Do I have any rights in these circumstances?

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, you have certain rights regarding your security deposit. According to California law (California Civil Code Section 1950.5), your landlord must return your security deposit within 21 days after you move out. If they make any deductions from your deposit, they must provide you with an itemized statement detailing the reasons for the deductions.

Since it has been 40 days and you haven't received your deposit or any explanation, here are some steps you can take:

1. Send a formal demand letter: Write a letter to your former landlord, stating that you have not received your security deposit and demanding its return. Mention the date you moved out and the California law that requires the deposit to be returned within 21 days. Send the letter via certified mail with a return receipt requested to have proof of delivery.

2. Keep records: Document all your communication attempts with the landlord, including phone calls, emails, and text messages.

3. File a complaint: If the landlord doesn't respond to your demand letter, you can file a complaint with the California Department of Consumer Affairs or your local rent board.

4. Consider small claims court: If the above steps don't resolve the issue, you can file a lawsuit against your landlord in small claims court. In California, you can sue for up to $12,500. If you win, the court may award you the amount of the deposit plus damages of up to twice the amount of the deposit for the "bad faith retention" of the deposit.

Remember, you have the right to your security deposit, and your landlord must follow the law in returning it to you or providing a justification for any deductions.

Delaram Keshvarian
Delaram Keshvarian
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Orange, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Thank you for your question!

You should have been refunded in 21 days. If the landlord is not responsive, and not willing to communicate truthfully, you can file a claim against him in the small claim court where the property is located for Beach of contract.

This is merely a discussion of general laws and not legal advice. For legal advice, more specific facts and investigations are needed. I recommend you consult with an attorney for more details.

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