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Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 16359
Experience:  13 years experience in RE Law, including LL/Tenant, contractor disputes, comm'l prop. issues
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I've a question about tenant's lease dispute with apt

Customer Question

Hello, I've a question about tenant's lease dispute with apt management.
Here is the question I'd like to ask you; I signed a lease and didn't like the apartment. So I didn't even move in the apartment and I returned the key, however, management charged me $ 3624.00 for returning the key. Although I asked them not to charge any thing as I didn't even move in the apt. But they declined to do so.
After few day they return $1368, although I expected my full refund of money. Now they are holding remaining balance of $2256.00. Do you think I can get it back if you send a letter to management.
Thank you.
M Prasad
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 11 months ago.

Hello there --

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Generally speaking, when you sign a lease it is not uncommon for the management company to retain a certain portion of the deposit as a termination fee if a prospective tenant backs out of renting the apartment before moving into the unit. This usually boils down to the written document that you signed and what a court would find reasonable under the law as an amount for the management company to retain to offset any inconvenience that your backing out of the lease may have caused. While I agree with you that this amount may be excessive, we here at Just Answer are a question and answer service for legal matters. I am a lawyer, but am not permitted to take on your case and write a letter to the management company on your behalf. My suggestion here is that you write a letter to them yourself and tell them that is is excessive for them to retain this large amount of money for your not moving into the unit and you would be willing to consider a lesser amount of a few hundred dollars or so to make up for any inconvenience that you may have caused them. Tell them if they do not return the balance of your deposit within 30 days that you will sign the matter up in your local county small claims court and pursue the matter through the court. If they do not respond or they respond and fail to return the greater amount of your deposit, then my suggestion is for you to use the local court system small claims court. You can sue for up to $12,500 in CA small claims court without using a lawyer by simply completing the forms and filing them with the court. The court will set the matter up for an informal hearing and then you can go to the hearing and present your side of the case. Handling it in this manner for you will be much less expensive than getting an attorney to just write a letter on your behalf (which they will most likely ignore).

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Here is a link to the small claims court in CA where you can get instructions and forms in order to make a small claims court filing in your county -- http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm

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MARY

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