Can someone legally keep your deposit over curtains?

I sold my home, paid rent back on our home
with a 1k deposit. We moved out as
scheduled, cleaned up and threw out our old,
moldy curtains. We left all the blinds, the rods
but threw out the curtains. She wants to keep
our deposit. We returned all the dirty curtains
except one pair. Can she legally keep my entire
deposit for a pair of curtains?

Asked on January 2, 2019 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

She may only keep an amount equal to the sum of any unpaid rent, the value of anything you take or destroy, and the cost to repair any damage you did in excess of normal "wear and tear." If she keeps more than that, she has violated the law and you could sue her (e.g. in small claims court) for the money's return.


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