I recently purchased a condo "as-is" in Southern California that was occupied with a renter/tenant. Upon close of escrow, I was transferred the tenant's deposit. When the tenant moved out about 2 weeks after closing, I noticed deep scratches in the floors (like from moving furniture) and the house still smelled of pets and had pet dander in the nooks and crevices of the building. I was wondering if I could still deduct repair and cleaning costs from the tenant's deposit or am I out of luck because of the "as-is" clause. Thank you
2 Answers from Attorneys
In California, you must either send a full refund of the security deposit, or mail and personally deliver an itemized statement that lists the amounts of any deductions from the tenants security depost and the reasons for the deductions, along with the remaining balance that was not deducted. You must do this within 21 calendar days of the tenants' move out. (Civ. Code, sect. 1950.5, subd, (g)(1).)
If you do not do this within 21 days, case law set forth by the California Supreme Court states that the landlord forfeits the right to hold onto any part of the deposit.
If you are going to do this yourself, I do suggest you familiarize yourself with Civil Code section 1950.5. Your local law library should also carry some books by Nolo press that assists landlords in issues like this.
Your 'as is' applies to the seller and you, not you and the tenant.
Learn and follow the tenancy law and rules about deposits and notices with this tenant.