How to deal with a landlady who wants to keep an entire security deposit
June 26, 2014 3:39 PM Subscribe
On June 1, I gave month’s notice for an apartment I’ve been living in for ten years (I’m in California). I had a month-to-month lease and was never late with rent.
Until now, I’ve had a cordial relationship with my landlady.
When I gave her my notice, she called and said that she was going to keep my entire security deposit ($950). This came out of the blue.
She claims it was for two things. A few months back, she replaced my stovetop. There was nothing wrong with it and I hadn’t asked her to replace it.
posted by holdenjordahl to Law & Government (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My cleaning leady scratched it while she was cleaning it. A few scratches, to be sure, but it’s not marred. She said she was going to charge me the amount of a new stovetop.
She also added that the retained security deposit would also include the cost of a sliding glass door in the bathtub/shower that shattered one morning three years ago when I opened it. She didn't replace it so, at my own cost, I bought a rod and curtains.
It both cases, I didn't discuss the matter with her any further.
I’m trying to find a way to calmly resolve this without having to go to small claim’s court, so I’m looking for other approaches.
I've gone through the "California Tenants - A Guide to Residential Tenants and Landlord's Rights and Responsibilities" on the California Consumer Affairs website. Under "Refunds of Security Deposits," I found this:
The landlord must give the tenant written notice of the tenant’s right to request an initial
inspection of the rental and to be present during the inspection. The landlord must give this notice to the tenant a “reasonable time” after either the landlord or the tenant has given the other written notice of intent to terminate (end) the tenancy. If the tenant has a lease, the landlord must give the tenant this notice a “reasonable time” before the lease ends. If the tenant does not request an initial inspection, the landlord does not have any other duties with respect to the initial inspection."
She never gave me written notice of my right to request the initial inspection. Is that significant? Is there any other way to tell her she’s wrong about keeping the entire deposit?
I'm more than willing to have the place cleaned, at my own expense; but I think her intended claim to keep the entire security amount is misguided.
Is there some simple way to explain this to her so she understands it, without having to resort to small claims court?