Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Security Deposit Issue

I recently signed a lease for an appartment, and then for personal reasons had to back out of the lease. I was a month and a half away from my move in date and had not taken possesion of the appartment in any way not even the keys. I offered to pay them prorated rent for the 2 weeks I was under contract and told them they could keep my initial deposit. They sent me a letter telling me that they were going to keep the security deposit too, because I had not lived up to my lease agreement. Is this their right?????Am I wrong in thinking that if they go into a new contract, which they did with a new tenant that I should receive the security deposit back...Afterall I did not damage anything, nor do I owe them any rent, which I thought were the only circumstances where the deposit is kept...Please let me know.

Asked on 5/10/02, 6:57 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Victor Hobbs Victor E. Hobbs

Re: Security Deposit Issue

The landlord has a duty to attempt to rent the unit as soon as they can to another tenant (mitigate your damages). So sue them for all the money they are holding - deposit and all. Try to find out when the new tenant moved in. That date will determine when your obligation stopped.

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Answered on 5/10/02, 7:41 pm
Scott K. Zimmerman Law Office of Scott K. Zimmerman

Re: Security Deposit Issue

You are liable for the period of time that the apt was not rented. If that was 0 days, then you are entitled to your entire deposit and your security deposit back. Sue them in small claims court, which has a $5,000 limit and no one can have any attorneys, so the cost is minimal.

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Answered on 5/10/02, 9:32 pm

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