Legal Q&A: Former tenant threatening to sue over security deposit


Question: I had a tenant move out several months ago. I returned $600 of his $1,000 deposit. He disputes all but $50 of the deductions and has threatened to sue me.  He also has not cashed the refund check.  How long does he have to sue me?

Ted Kimball
Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

Answer: In California, the statute of limitations determines the time that you must bring suit to legally enforce a claim. For written agreements, it is four years from the time of the breach. For oral agreements, the statute of limitations is two years from the time of the breach.

Question: I rented to a married couple two years ago, and now the wife has moved out and filed for divorce. The husband is still living in the unit. The wife is demanding her portion of the security deposit back since she no longer lives there. What should I do?

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