If I had a dog in the house and wasn’t supposed to but no damage was done, can my landlord keep deposit?

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If I had a dog in the house and wasn’t supposed to but no damage was done, can my landlord keep deposit?

The house is in better condition than when I moved in.

Asked on June 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, the landlord cannot keep a deposit simply because you had a dog, even if doing so violated the lease. He may only keep part or all of the security deposit to cover any unpaid rent and to pay for repairs or cleaning required by conditions beyond normal wear and tear for the length of your tenancy, caused by you, your household, your guest, or your pets. So if you dog did not in fact cause damage to the premises or anything requiring cleaning beyond the normal wear  and tear (for example, it did not urinate on the rug, requiring professional cleaning and/or replacement), the landlord would seem to not have grounds to retain your deposit.


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