Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in California

can I be charged $748 over my $500 deposit? My kids drew on the walls with crayon, I dropped some coffee once, and we left some tubs with stuff we could not fit in the truck. I admit we did not vacuum. So we are ok with them keeping the $500 deposit, but $748 more?

Asked on 9/17/10, 7:48 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Scott Brear Law Practice of Scott Irvin Brear
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It depends what your lease says about damages. Deposits are meant to be a general amount, about the same as the monthly rent, that landlords feel they can rationally tack on to the beginning of a lease. It is for damages and/or missed rental payments. I would doubt that your lease says that the damages assessed can not exceed the deposit. It is unusual though for damages to exceed deposits in most cases. In your case, it is quite possible that damages exceeded the deposit and so, more than likely, your landlord is entitled to that higher amount. You are entitled to see a clear detailing of the assessed costs. the costs can not be applied without some sense and in a reasonable manner. They can not pay their friend double the market rate to clean walls and pass that to you, the tenant. So, ask for a detail of expenses and make sure the expenses are reasonable. This is why is is always a god idea for a tenant to have a walk through a rental with the landlord a week or so ahead of vacancy so the tenant would have a chance to remedy problems themselves!

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9/22/10, 8:22 pm

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