What to do if my ex-landlord sent me a breakdown of what he is keeping from my security deposit and I don’t agree with it?

In addition to the regular charges for painting and such, he charged me a $600 penalty fee; my entire deposit for violating the pet policy. In my lease I am allowed to have 1 dog in my room. The law says the deposit fees have to be used for reasonable cleaning; so is he allowed to give me a penalty? I am worried because said he will send me to collections if I do not pay? What should I do?

Asked on September 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you do not agree with the assessment that your former landlord is providing you as to your former rental, you need to write him or her setting forth your position and the perceived violation of the law. Keep a copy of the letter for future use and need.

From what you have written about, the cleaning fees seems excessive. Just because the former landlord may send the matter to collections, that does not mean that he or she has a valid judgment against you. If you believe you are owed money back, make a demand for such to be paid by a certain date. If such is not, then your recourse is small claims court.

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