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insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 54716
Experience:  Lawyer; developer/owner of RE developments.
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Can I charge first and last months rent and a security deposit

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Can I charge first and last month's rent and a security deposit in California?


Good morning. California law provides that the maximum security deposit for an unfurnished apartment should not exceed an amount that is equivalent to two months of rent. However, California tenant rights security deposit laws increase the maximum amount of security deposit to an amount that is equivalent to three months of rent if the apartment or rental property is furnished. The law combines rent and security deposit for making this calculation. Based on the foregoing, you can collect the last month's rent and the security deposit under the foregoing and you can always require the first month's rent be tendered with the lease agreement. So, the botXXXXX XXXXXne is YES.



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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

OK, I just needed to make sure because I posted a rental on Craigslist and someone sent me this email. I just need to make sure that I am not doing anything illegal.



Just an fyi- it is against the CA rental law that you ask for both last month & deposit...along with first months rent. However either or cannot exceed the monthly rent.

Have a nice day.


Thank you,


They are misinterpreting the law....You can collect the last months rent and the security deposit under the law. Then, the first month's rent must be paid simply as part of the's not a deposit, it's just simply the first month's rent that would be due for occupancy.

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