Can a landlord demand more deposit money if there isn’t an allowance for it in the lease?

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Can a landlord demand more deposit money if there isn’t an allowance for it in the lease?

I recently signed a lease which specified a damage deposit of $750. About 2 weeks after I signed the lease, I came home to a note from someone in the management office informing me that I need to pay an additional $1250. Apparently they should have charged me when I signed the lease. Included with the note was a page from the lease noting the $1250 deposit and a request for my initials. I didn’t recall anything about $1250 when I signed the lease, so I consulted with the lease that I was sent prior to signing the deal in the office and the $1250 deposit isn’t listed anywhere. What are my obiligations?

Asked on June 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your obligagtion is to pay that amount of deposit, and only that amount of deposit, that was called for in the lease which you signed. A lease is a contract; the landlord may not alter or amend it after the fact to require more security. You could bring a copy of your executed lease (leave a  copy or better yet, the original, if you have a signed original, at home) to the landlord and ask the landlord to show you where *in the lease you signed requiring a larger deposit--if they can show you, you probably have to pay, but if it's not in the lease as you signed, you would not.


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