News: Security Deposits

Filter

Question: Can I keep a security deposit if the tenant moves out and does not give me a written 30-day notice? Answer: Not automatically. You can deduct from the security deposit unpaid rent from the time of the move out until thirty days are up, or until the premises are relet, whichever happens first, provided you use due diligence to relet the premises. Question: I took a $300 deposit from a tenant to hold an apartment pending a credit check. The credit check came in and I declined the application. How long do I have to return the money? Answer: … Read More

Tagged:

Question: One of our single tenants who was renting a small one bedroom unit recently died. There are still three months remaining on his lease.  What should I do with the security deposit? Answer: A tenancy for a specified term does not terminate on the death of either the landlord or the tenant. Once the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate returns possession, you should account for the use of the deposit and direct the accounting to the administrator or executor. Question: I understand that if a building contains 16 or more units there must be a resident manager.… Read More

Tagged:

Question: What is the best way to say no to an application and avoid a discrimination lawsuit? The prospect’s credit is worse than he said it was, and I want to avoid trouble. Answer: You are required by law to inform the tenant of the reasons in writing for denying the application if the reason was partially or wholly based upon the credit report. The best way to deliver this news is to inform the prospective tenant that if he or she can get the credit history cleaned up, you would be happy to have this person reapply. Reject the… Read More

Tagged:

Question: Can a resident legally drink alcohol in the outdoor common areas of an apartment community? Answer: Landlords have the right to restrict the drinking of alcohol in the common areas of the premises. Question: My tenant vacated and has damaged the unit more than the security deposit will cover.  The tenant had a co-signer on the agreement.  I have written the tenant and co-signer with no response after 30 days. Do I file a small claims action against both the tenant and the co-signer or should they be separate lawsuits? Answer: You can file against both of them in… Read More

Tagged:

Question: I recently purchased a triplex, and the escrow will be closing in a couple of days. The tenants are currently on a month-to-month rental agreement. Do I have to wait until the end of the month, or can I serve a 30-day notice as soon as I take possession of the property? Answer: You can serve a 30-day notice at any time in a month-to-month tenancy. You do not need to wait until the end of the month. You are also entitled to rent for the 30-day time period. If all of the tenants in the unit have been… Read More

Tagged:

Question: If I miss sending a security deposit disposition with 21 days as required by law, must I return the entire deposit rather than deduct amounts owed, such as outstanding rent? Answer: The law is silent on this point. As a result, some judges do and some judges do not allow the landlord to make a deduction from the deposit if not properly accounted for in accordance with California law. However, this does not mean that the damages to the unit, necessary cleaning and unpaid rent are not owed. In any event, landlords can pursue any monetary claims they have… Read More

Tagged:

Question: After serving a three-day notice to pay rent or quit, does the day of service count towards the three-day period? Answer: The first day of service does not count towards the three-day period. The first day to count is the day after service of the notice was completed. The tenant must have three full days after service before filing the summons and complaint. Question: May I demand a late charge in a three-day notice to pay rent or quit? Answer: No. Do not demand any other fees or charges other than the tenant’s past due rent in a three-day… Read More

Tagged:

Question: One of my tenants vacated the property and left his roommate behind. Both signed the rental agreement, and now the tenant who vacated is demanding his share of the security deposit be returned to him. Is he right? What should I do? Answer: You are not required to return or account for the use of the security deposit until you regain possession of the property after the tenants have vacated. California requires the deposit be accounted for in writing and sent to the last known address of the tenants no later than 21 days following the return of possession… Read More

Tagged:

Question: Do I have to pay a tenant interest on his security deposit? Answer: There are no state laws requiring that interest be paid on the tenant’s security deposit.  However, some rent control ordinances and/or other local ordinances do require interest to be paid. Question: We served a three-day notice to pay rent or quit.  What is the latest date we could start an unlawful detainer without our three-day notice “becoming stale” and having to be re-served? Answer: It depends on the facts of any given case, but the longer you wait, the more of an argument you are giving… Read More

Tagged:

Few things rile up a renter like a security deposit dispute. A single misstep could leave a landlord blindsided by allegations of wrongdoing. Don’t let ignorance of the law land you in court. The California Apartment Association’s four-part webinar series this fall starts with “Security Deposits: Collection & Return.” Other webinars will cover companion animals, insurance policies and new laws affecting California rental property owners.  The security deposits webinar, scheduled for 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, provides an overview of the following: Legal limits on amount and type of deposit Using the deposit during the tenancy The… Read More

Tagged: