As a tenant, you may have heard of a security deposit but may not know what it is. In California, a security deposit equals the cost of
one month's rent, paid by the tenant to the landlord before moving in. This deposit can be used by the landlord to cover damages or unpaid rent during the tenant's stay.
When the tenant leaves, the landlord must give back the security deposit, minus any needed deductions, within 21 days of the move-out.
The landlord cannot keep the entire amount of the security deposit without justification. Deductions can only be made for things like unpaid rent, cleaning fees, or repairs required due to damage caused by the tenant or their guests beyond normal wear and tear. The landlord must provide a detailed list of deductions and receipts for any work done.
As a tenant, it's essential to keep a copy of the lease agreement. This will help you to avoid any disputes over the refund of your security deposit.
Tenants should leave the property in good condition upon moving out to increase the likelihood of receiving a full refund.
In summary, a security deposit is equivalent to 1 month's rent paid by a tenant to cover any damages or unpaid rent during their stay. By law, the security deposit must be returned within 21 days. Remember, as a tenant, it's essential to understand your rights and responsibilities regarding the security deposit.
Image by Drazen Zigic