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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 30180
Experience:  Attorney
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I have rented to two tenants and the rent 2 bedroom

Customer Question

I have rented to two tenants and the rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $2900. The security deposit is $5800. One tenant wished to leave and wants her portion of the security deposit given back to her. I will do this, but I will ask the remaining tenant to make up the deficit of $2900 before I release the amount to the tenant who is leaving. The remaining tenant will still have to pay the $2900. each month. Please let me know if this is the way to do this. Thank you. Virginia
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

A landlord is actually not required to return a security deposit until all tenants on the lease have moved out. So you do not have to return half the deposit now - you can wait and account for it within 21 days after the second tenant moves out. Usually what happens in this scenario is that the tenant who is staying pays the tenant who is leaving for half the deposit (or a new roommate who comes in gives a security deposit, which goes to the tenant moving out).

California law doesn't allow a landlord to request a new security deposit in the middle of the lease (because a landlord isn't supposed to touch a deposit until the tenants leave). What you can do is sign a new lease with the remaining tenant for the total rent that says she's going to be the sole tenant going forward and that stating the full deposit amount. Then you can note that you're applying half the existing deposit to the new deposit and returning the rest to the old tenant. Everyone should sign the paperwork.