Ggirl94509, Other/Just Looking in Antioch, CA

what charges can you use a security deposit for?

Asked by Ggirl94509, Antioch, CA Sat Nov 6, 2010

tenant was evicted

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Ggirl94509,

California Civil Code 1950.5 (b) states the Security Deposit:

" imposed at the beginning of the tenancy to be used to reimburse the landlord for costs associated with processing a new tenant or that is imposed as an advance payment of rent, used or to be used for any purpose, including, but not limited to, any of the following:

1. The compensation of a landlord for a tenant's default in the payment of rent.

2. The repair of damages to the premises, exclusive of ordinary wear and tear, caused by the tenant or by a guest or licensee of the tenant.

3. The cleaning of the premises upon termination of the tenancy necessary to return the unit to the same level of cleanliness it was in at the inception of the tenancy. The amendments to this paragraph enacted by the act adding this sentence shall apply only to tenancies for which the tenant's right to occupy begins after January 1, 2003.

4. To remedy future defaults by the tenant in any obligation under the rental agreement to restore, replace, or return personal property or appurtenances, exclusive of ordinary wear and tear, if the security deposit is authorized to be applied thereto by the rental agreement."

Additionally, California Civil Code 1950.5 (e) states:

“The landlord may claim of the security only those amounts as are reasonably necessary for the purposes specified in subdivision (B). The landlord may not assert a claim against the tenant or the security for damages to the premises or any defective conditions that preexisted the tenancy, for ordinary wear and tear or the effects thereof, whether the wear and tear preexisted the tenancy or occurred during the tenancy, or for the cumulative effects of ordinary wear and tear occurring during any one or more tenancies.”

I would highly recommend that you review the section starting on page 53 (Refunds of Security Deposits) of the following document for guidance:

Best, Steve
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 8, 2010

Typically is is for actual damage for items not originally damaged or fully depreciated. Lets take a couple of quick examples. 1) PAINT. paint is considered fully depreciated after a very short time. Unless the home was freshly painted when you moved in, and your lease was short it is hard to collect against deposit for "damage". (The rule of thumb is 3 years but most PM's tell owners not to collect for paint dings after 2, and then its only nominal amounts.) If there are holes in the drywall though.... 2) CARPET. Similar to paint. Carpets have more staying power but it is hard to collect for damages when the carpet is 10 eyars old albeit in good shape. New stains and dirt can be hidden for short peoriods of time thorough quality professional cleaning techniques prior to walkthough. See my point?
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 7, 2010
Anna and Marston are both right, but the lease usually doesn't get specific enough to clarify what the deposit can be used for. In general, any unpaid rent due at time of move-out and repairs above normal wear-and-tear. But there are many, many other gotcha's: 1) If you painted any portion of the property without the landlord's permission, the landlord can charge you for that portion of re-painting; 2) If you installed bookshelves or anything else that left significant damage to the walls, or left bookshelves installed that the landlord now wants removed, 3) oil stains on the floor/ground in the garage or parking structure, 4) Missing or broken shelves in the refrigerator or stove. Little stuff like that can often cost you. One other thing - the landlord must, by law in California, give you the opportunity for a pre-inspection no earlier than two weeks prior to your move-out date. The purpose of the inspection is to give you the opportunity to repair, on your own or using a repair guy you hire, anything that the landlord might charge your deposit for. Hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 6, 2010
Hi Ggirl-

Normally the deposit is used for any pet damages, damages to property, late charges and unpaid rent. Find that lease and it will outline the deposit.

Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 6, 2010
Generally ONLY late payments due and damages ABOVE and BEYOND "NORMAL" wear and tear. Check your lease agreement or Google it. There is great information from the Dept. of Housing. You CANNOT be charged for normal use or deterioration of an item i.e. carpet, paint, etc that has been properly cared for during your tenancy.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 6, 2010
Review your lease, as the answer oftentimes may be found in the document, then go from there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 6, 2010
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