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A former tenant is sueing me for $10,000 because she says I…

Customer Question
A former tenant is...

A former tenant is sueing me for $10,000 because she says I did no refund her security deposit in August, 2015. Can she do that? What recourse do I have?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

California

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

None. I just got served.

Submitted: 2 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 3 hours by:
5/26/2018
Lawyer: Bill Attorney, Lawyer replied 2 months ago
Bill Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 2,817
Experience: Attorney
Verified

Dear Customer ,

Thank You for posting your landlord-tenant law question in California today. I'm attorney Bill assisting you with this matter. Under California laws the landlord is obliged to return the security deposit within 21 days of surrender of the property.

The landlord can dispute the return of the security deposit where itemized damages were given to the tenant; otherwise bad faith retention of the deposit would allow the tenant to sue the landlord for up to twice the amount of the security deposit and interest.

This is set out in statute:

"

(j) (1) In the event of noncompliance with subdivision (h), the landlord’s successors in interest shall be jointly and severally liable with the landlord for repayment of the security, or that portion thereof to which the tenant is entitled, when and as provided in subdivisions (e) and (g). A successor in interest of a landlord may not require the tenant to post any security to replace that amount not transferred to the tenant or successors in interest as provided in subdivision (h), unless and until the successor in interest first makes restitution of the initial security as provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision (h) or provides the tenant with an accounting as provided in subdivision (g).

(2) This subdivision does not preclude a successor in interest from recovering from the tenant compensatory damages that are in excess of the security received from the landlord previously paid by the tenant to the landlord.

(3) Notwithstanding this subdivision, if, upon inquiry and reasonable investigation, a landlord’s successor in interest has a good faith belief that the lawfully remaining security deposit is transferred to him or her or returned to the tenant pursuant to subdivision (h), he or she is not liable for damages as provided in subdivision (l), or any security not transferred pursuant to subdivision (h).

(k) Upon receipt of any portion of the security under paragraph (1) of subdivision (h), the landlord’s successors in interest shall have all of the rights and obligations of a landlord holding the security with respect to the security.

(l) The bad faith claim or retention by a landlord or the landlord’s successors in interest of the security or any portion thereof in violation of this section, or the bad faith demand of replacement security in violation of subdivision (j), may subject the landlord or the landlord’s successors in interest to statutory damages of up to twice the amount of the security, in addition to actual damages. The court may award damages for bad faith whenever the facts warrant that award, regardless of whether the injured party has specifically requested relief. In an action under this section, the landlord or the landlord’s successors in interest shall have the burden of proof as to the reasonableness of the amounts claimed or the authority pursuant to this section to demand additional security deposits."

The civil complaint is something you will need to file an answer to.

If you have a copy of the complaint this can be reviewed by myself as an additional service, just let me know.

In relation to my answer please follow up with me as required, we are here to help.

I'm an independent legal expert and rely on your positive feedback to get a credit for my time today.

You do this by rating 5*****, 4**** or accept.

FIVE STARS or your rating is much appreciated in this regard.

Thanks

Attorney Bill

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It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

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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.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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