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

UPDATED: Jan 11, 2012

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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


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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