Whatt o do if it has been almost 3 months since I vacated the premises and my landlord has not returned my deposit or any receipt to that effect?

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Whatt o do if it has been almost 3 months since I vacated the premises and my landlord has not returned my deposit or any receipt to that effect?

The amount was $1,800 for a deposit on a house where I lived for 1 year and 8.5 mo. What legal options do I have? Also, I cannot find my contract but the landlord has a copy. How would this affect my options?

Asked on October 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under CA law, 21 calendar days or less after you move out, your landlord must either: 1. send you a full refund of your security deposit or 2. mail or personally deliver to you an itemized statement the lists the amount of any deductions from your security deposit along with a reason for those deductions, together with a refund of any amount not deducted.  See Civil Code Section 1950.5(g)(1).

Section 1950.5 says that if your landlord in bad faith retains your deposit, you can be awarded statutory damages equal to twice the deposit amount, in addition to whatever real damages are awarded.  That means if your real damages are the full deposit, you can be awarded up to three times the deposit amount in all.

In addition, your lease agreement may or may not allow attorney's fees.  You should really talk to a local attorney about your options and sue the landlord--because you might be able to get even more than what you are owed.

If you are in LA or Ventura County, feel free to contact me.

Best of luck.

 


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