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I'm a homeowner with 3 roommates and one of my roommates…

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I'm a homeowner with 3...
I'm a homeowner with 3 roommates and one of my roommates just moved out on Jan.1st New Years Day. Because my roommate was confrontational, I feel that I want to re-key my locks and mailbox today right away. My roommate returned his key, but I have no guarantee he made copies. Does California Rental Law allow me to deduct the cost of re-keying my locks from his deposit? I need an answer fast as I found a locksmith who can come over right now.
Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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1/1/2018
Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 7 months ago
Loren
Loren, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 39,338
Experience: Attorney with 30 years of experience representing landlords and tenants.
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Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

If the tenant returned the key then you can not charge them the cost to rekey the lock and deduct it from the security deposit. If you know for a fact that they did not return all the keys you could, but not if they returned all the keys they had.

You can not presume they made keys and charge them the rekeying fee.

Rekeying between tenants is generally a landlord expense and a cost of business in being a landlord.

I am sorry. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but I do not want you incurring liability and spinning your wheels on this.

If (and only if) you are completely satisfied that your question is answered professionally and accurately, even if not the answer you were hoping to get, please remember to leave a favorable rating (click 5 stars in the rating section on this page). It is the only way that I am credited by JustAnswer for answering your question.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
On the internet, I read articles that landlords can charge back the cost of re-keying in San Diego even if the tenant returned the key. The tenant can not prove if he/she made copies. Why are these articles saying this? Next question, how long do I have before I return any or all of the security deposit?
Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

I have not seen those articles, but you can not charge the tenant the cost of rekeying if they return the keys. It is a landlord's maintenance expense and cost of doing business.

Under California law, a landlord must return the renter's security deposit, with an itemized statement of deductions, within 21 days after the renter has surrendered the rental property to the landlord (that is, returned the keys and vacated the property).

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Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Did you have further questions? Have I answered your question? Please let me know.

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Lawyer: Loren, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

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