Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in California

We rented a house in CA for 2 years. I paid the security deposit of $2244. Upon giving notice that we would not be renewing our lease, we asked for a preliminary walk through inspection so that we could fix/repair/clean prior to the final inspection and hopefully get most of my deposit back.

The pre-move out inspection was conducted 2 weeks prior to our move out date and was handled by a representative of the property management co. One of the tenants was present while he completed the inspection. The only things that he suggested we correct were very small repairs and some scuff mark cleaning. We did correct the things that he suggested.

Fast forward to post final inspection and we received a letter with ridiculous deductions and a check for a measly $800. They deducted $1444 from the security deposit! Am I mistaken that CA provided this pre-move out inspection for the purpose of allowing tenants to address any repairs/cleaning prior to the final inspection and therefore avoid the deductions?? We were not provided any receipts for the work/repairs they are claiming. It would seem to me that this alone should be reason enough to show bad faith by the property management co, however, the deductions were ridiculous, unreasonable and possibly illegal.

1.) $480 for repainting (the house did not have fresh paint when we moved in 2 years ago and I believe that they are not allowed to charge us for painting after the 2 year residency(?)

2.) $300 to repaint kitchen cabinets due to chips and scuff marks (all of which are noted when we had our move-in inspection.

3.) $250 for carpet cleaning. The carpets were shampooed by us and we also noted that the carpet was "worn" in the move-in inspection.

4.) $40 to take the trash receptacles to the curb. We were told that since our move-out date fell on a Monday and trash day on Tuesday. Besides, we also paid for the trash service which included that pick up.

5.) $30 to power wash the outside entryway to get rid of spider webs, leaves and dirt.

6.) $40 to repaint the front door due to "scuff marks". Boy, they make it sound like we were walking on the walls, doors and cabinets considering all of the "scuff marks" they are alleging!

7.) $10 for fireplace key that we never received to begin with.

8.) $225 for yard work. Considering that we were paying $100 per month for the yard work; $225 seems a bit excessive. For Pete's sake - it wasn't acreage!

9.) $20 to repaint the fire door due to scuff marks. Give me a break!

10.) $80 to, once again, paint over the scuff marks on the 3 bedroom doors. So the front door costs $40 to paint; the fire door costs $20 and the 3 bedroom doors combined costs $80.

Sorry for this long rant, but I really think that the management co is really trying to stick it to us and should be penalized for the bad faith charges.

On April 9th all of this was written in an e-mail to the property manager (I know that we should have sent via certified mail). The measly $800 check has not been cashed and we have not heard word one at this date.

Can you tell me if there is any time period that they are required to respond? Do you see any possible violations they may have committed? What do you suggest that we do next?

Asked on 5/02/17, 11:38 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

Send them one more letter, by certified mail, and if you don't get a reasonable response, this is a classic case for small claims court.

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Answered on 5/02/17, 12:37 pm

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