Can I deduct from a security deposit, for costs regarding disposal of my ex-roommate’s abandoned property?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I deduct from a security deposit, for costs regarding disposal of my ex-roommate’s abandoned property?

My ex-girlfriend moved out without 30 days written notice to the landlord or me, as per the lease. She abandoned some large furniture items, her property, saying it was my problem to dispose of. I had to take time to list them on Craig’s list, take time off of work to wait for buyers, but eventually got them sold. I will give her half the money for the sale. Items that did not sell I had to take time to move them to Goodwill for disposal. The landlord is giving me the entire security deposit as I am the remaining tenant. Can I deduct my costs for my time and effort from her share of the security deposit?

Asked on December 15, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not. Tenants are not allowed to deduct their own time and labor from rent, from another tenant's share of the security deposit, or otherwise; similarly, landlords who personally clean up extraordinary messes or make repairs to apartments cannot deduct their own labo from security deposits. Fair or not, the law does not allow one to receive compensation for one's own time and effort in situations like this. (BTW, when attorneys represent themselves, they can't charge for their own time--at least the principal is consistently applied.) Nothing stops you from trying to get the ex-girlfriend to agree to compensate you in some fasion, but you may not, without her agreement, take money out of her deposit for your labor and time.


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption