If I recently moved out of a house for which I put down a $5000 security deposit, what are my rights if my landlord has made questionable deductions from it?

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If I recently moved out of a house for which I put down a $5000 security deposit, what are my rights if my landlord has made questionable deductions from it?

Our landlords (a big beach rental company) are only returning $1801.85 to us out of that deposit for the following reasons: cleaning, repairs (some of which are things that we feel we should not be responsible for), additional steam cleaning of bathrooms, bedbug removal (which we feel was preventive rather than treatment), and painting. Could you please advise me on how to write a letter of contention to our landlords about these deductions?

Asked on June 17, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Writing a letter to the landlord is easy--you state why you believe that the items were not caused by you, your family, or guests and therefore not your resonsibility (address each item separately in detail, line by line; state the condition it was in when you rented, the condition when you left, and that you did not cause any damage or problem). Ask for your money back and inform the landlord you will sue if necessary to recover the money. If they do not give you back an acceptable amount, you have the right to sue for your money back--in the lawsyuit, you would provide testimony and any other evidence you have that shows that you did not cause the problems, and the landlord would have to provide evidence showing that you did cause the damage or issue and the cost to remediate it. If the judge agrees with you in whole or in part, you'll get some or all of your money back.


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