I've recently moved out of an apartment in San Diego, CA with my two roommates. I understand the landlord is obligated to return the security deposit within 21 days of vacating (http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/sec-deposit.shtml), but we didn't receive the check until 30 days after vacating. He forgot to sign the check, so he asked us to mail it back so he could sign it and return it back to us. He also took 10 days' rent our of the deposit, because he received the last set of keys 10 days after we vacated. However, when we moved in, we were given only two pairs of keys. We returned two pairs on the day we vacated, but the third roommate had a copy made and returned that pair late. Is his taking 10 days' rent justified? We haven't sent the unsigned check back yet and we're not sure how to proceed.
1 Answer from Attorneys
The landlord must send the security depost or mail an itemized statement that list the amounts of any deductions from your security depost and the reasons for the deductions, along with the amount not deducted. It is not required that you receive the deposit within 21 days, only that it is sent within 21 days. So the big question I would have for you was when it was mailed.
The failure to sign appears to be inadvertent.
Although you mention that you and one roommate turned over your sets of keys, your other roommate did not. It is not clear whether this roommate was late moving out, in which case you may have to sue your roommate.