Can my landlord charge me for a dep[osit 8 months after I moved out?

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Can my landlord charge me for a dep[osit 8 months after I moved out?

I got a letter saying that my roommate and I did not pay a deposit and instead paid a “non-refundable security bond”. This is the first knowledge of this problem and I moved out 8 months ago. Unfortunately I misplaced the money order stub I paid the deposit with. Now they want the deposit and some extra random charges. Is there some kind of time limit they have to notify of fees? What is is a security deposit bond?

Asked on April 20, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is the question that I have:  did you KNOW that you were purchasing what is known as a surety bond or did you just give your landlord what you thought was a security deposit? Because the bond - which is not a deposit - generally purchased from an insurance company as a form of insurance.  In other words, a surety bond is a product that a prospective tenant can purchase in stead of a traditional security deposit.  The bond is normally nonrefundable and costs significantly less than a security deposit.  Some tenants choose this over paying for a security deposit as it reduces the tenant’smove-in costs.  Sounds like your landlord is trying to pull a fast one.  You can not have both and it sounds like you actually paid a security deposit, which is generally not non-refundable.  But check with your local landlord tenant court.  Good luck.


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