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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 33708
Experience:  Attorney for over 15 years, landlord 26 years
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My landlord is withholding our security deposit. he hasn't

Customer Question

my landlord is withholding our security deposit. he hasn't disclosed any reciepts of how it was used and its been 6 weeks since we have vacated. we have brought it to his attention and he has said he is charging us for things we disagree with. we have told him we will be disputing it and now he has said he wants to charge us for late fees that were from the past 3 years. he never said anything during our entire term that he wanted to charge us for a late fee and now is saying that he will apply these to the deduction of the security deposit. Am i stuck with having to loose this when he never said anything upon accepting rent that it was late.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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Can you tell me what state this is in?

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Did you give the landlord a forwarding address?

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Were you actually late with the rent during the tenancy and didn't pay any late fees?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi
We are in California. We were there for 3 years at which there was times our rent was deposited late. Keep in mind I would deposit directly into his account so it was more convenient for them. He never once addressed or mentioned that we were ever late or that he was charging us a late fee. Otherwise we would have paid it then and there. He has now decided at the end of the three years he wants to bring it up since we have issues with him withholding the deposit. And yes we gave our landlord a forwarding address. We have had correspondence via email where he has said 5 weeks after we have moved out that he is holding the deposit. He still after we have asked for receipts hasn't sent us anything he is trying to scare us away with this late fee thing he is just now bringing up.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

Ok, unfortunately, there is a 4 year statute of limitations on a breach of contract action, so he could legally charge for any late fees at the end of the lease and deduct them from any security deposit.

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However, under CA law, the landlord has a legal duty to deliver an itemized list of any deductions from the security deposit and refund any balance within 21 days of the tenant returning the keys to the property. (California Civil Code §§ 1950.5).

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So if it has been 5 weeks, he is WAY over the 21 day deadline in CA for refunding your deposit, and this would give you grounds to sue the landlord for three times (3X) the amount withheld in small claims court under a breach of contract action. So the landlord may have opened up a whole can of worms since he violated the security deposit law.

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thanks

Barrister

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