What legal action canI take if my landlord returned our security deposit 45 days post move out and was unfairly deducted from?

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What legal action canI take if my landlord returned our security deposit 45 days post move out and was unfairly deducted from?

Landlord did not return deposit until 45 days after move out and we believe that the deductions were unreasonable for cleaning costs. In the lease he stated that we have the carpets professionally cleaned as well as the windows. He took out deductions to have the carpets professionally cleaned as well as paid himself and hourly rate to clean the house. Is the professional carpet cleaning enforceable? In addition, even though he sent the deposit out, can we take legal action since it was sent well past the 21 days required by law.

Asked on January 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your former landlord did not return your security deposit in full or with the claimed debits within the 21 day period post move out and the amount that he debited is incorrect in your opinion as being excessive, you have the following options:

1. write the former landlord your displeasure seeking the return of the amount you deem proper within a stated time period. Keep a copy of the letter for future use and need.

2. if not returned in the stated time period, your recourse is a small claims action.

The professional cleaning section for the carpet in the lease is enforceable since you agreed to it presumably in writing assuming a third party (not the landlord) did the cleaning.

The amount that the landlord charged you to clean his own unit is not acceptable. If the agreement called for a third party to do the cleaning, the third party must have done the cleaning for the charge to be assessed as to you the tenant.


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