Thank you; if the pet deposit does not state nonrefundable, then the landlord (LL) can only deduct for actual damages caused by the pet.
Civil Code 1950.5 does not allow for nonrefundable deposits of any kind; that is the opposite of a deposit's very purpose.
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CIV§ionNum=1950.5 - statute is here.
The tenant is not liable for ordinary wear and tear; and carpet cleaning is ordinary wear and tear. Similarly smudges on walls are ordinary wear and tear (compare this to burns/red wine stains on the carpet; holes in the wall).
One cannot use the security deposit for last month's rent unfortunately (http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/moving-out.shtml) unless the lease specifically states that it can (which is very rare as that defeats the purpose of the security deposit).
If the landlord wrongfully withholds the deposit, the proper remedy is to sue for recovery of the deposit, and the court can award 2x the amount wrongfully withheld (it is a good idea to do a walk through inspection). Detailed information is here:
and of course to take photos.
program to generate letter requesting return of deposit here:
small claims is the proper jurisdiction for cases under $10,000:
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