Is my ex-landlord right to deduct from my deposit?

I rented a condo and the original owner sold it while I was still a tenant, deposit rolled over. I moved out and cleaned the place to a point where it was as, if not more, clean than when I first moved in (it wasn’t professionally cleaning prior to move-in nor was there a move-in checklist). New landlord and property management did the final inspection and charged me with pro cleaning services when they didn’t even know the original state of the unit before I moved in. They also did not include the receipts/invoices with my return and have a history of conducting bad business.

Asked on July 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your best bet is to sue in small claims court alleging a "Bad Faith Retention of lease deposit."  The applicable code section is CCC 1950.5(l):

(l) The bad faith claim or retention by a landlord or the landlord's successors in interest of the security or any portion thereof inviolation of this section, or the bad faith demand of replacementsecurity in violation of subdivision (j), may subject the landlord orthe landlord's successors in interest to statutory damages of up totwice the amount of the security, in addition to actual damages.

You could get up to three times your deposit as damages.
Best of luck.

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