Can my landlord add additional deductions to my security deposit after final walkthrough is done and signed off by both parties?

UPDATED: Aug 30, 2011

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Can my landlord add additional deductions to my security deposit after final walkthrough is done and signed off by both parties?

Our landlord gave us a pre-inspection walk through, provided a short list of a few things we needed to fix or clean two days later on our final walk-through wrote off mostly everything as satisfactory, except for a few things we couldn’t fix but were agreed upon by both parties. after doing so, we were under the impression that we were in the clear. now, three weeks later, shes keeping 2 thirds our deposit which is about $2,000 and is charging us for things pointed out by the new tenants. such as garbage disposal not working, leaking dishwasher, broken knobs, and carpets needing replacing.

Asked on August 30, 2011 California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Under California law, a landlord is required to return a tenant's security depoisit within twenty-one (21) days after he or she vacates the rented unit, and if the entire amount is not returned,an itemzized deduction needs to be set forth as well as receipts/invoices for the repairs attached. (Civil Code section 1950.5).

In your final walk through with your landlord, hopefully you received written documentation approving the general condition of the unit you were leaving.

Under California law, a landlord cannot charge a tenant for normal wear and tear of the unit. Normal wear and tear of a unit consisting of, but not limited to worn carpet is somehting that the landlord needs to replace at his or her own cost since such is a capital asset and things simply wear out from use.

Requiring the tenant to pay for the carpet at the end of the lease is a typical tactic by many landlords. A charge is assessed to the tenant for such. If the tenant pays for new carpet, the landlord typicxally pockets the money and never installs new carpet in the vacated unit before the new tenant moves in.

The additional charges sought against you post move out seem unwarranted.

Good luck.


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