If I received a returned security deposit check with deductions that I wish to challenge in small claims, do I forfeit my right to challenge if I cash the check?

I wish to challenge cleaning fees that were deducted from the security deposit of my last apartment. I believe that being charged for this violates normal tear and Tear provisions. If I cash this check, do I forfeit the right to challenge in small claims court?

Asked on June 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, you would not forfeit your right to sue for amounts you believe were wrongfully withheld by cashing the check. All cashing the check does is mean that you can't sue for the amount you accepted. For example: say your depost was $1,000 and you don't think any of it should have withheld. You get a check for $200; you could cash that check and sue for the other $1,000.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.