How to Get Your Security Deposit Back When the Landlord Doesn’t Want to

Hub Telegram: It has been two months since I moved out of my apartment. I researched on the Internet and it said my landlord has to send an itemized list of deductions within 21 days of the date and also has to provide receipts to document the deductions if the deductions are in excess of $125.00.

He did send me a list of deductions but no itemized receipts, and I do not agree with some of the charges the landlord made against my deposit.

When I called the landlord to ask for the receipts, he said that I had signed a waiver of my right to this documentation and that he considered the matter closed. He sent me a copy, and I admit that I indeed signed such a form although at the time I thought I was only signing a thirty-day notice to terminate tenancy. Is such a waiver real?

Do I still have a way to challenge the withholding of my deposit?

Answer: California Civil Code Section 1950.5 governs security deposits. Under this statute, it is valid to sign a document indicating that you agree to NOT receive receipts for the charges against your security deposit.

But having signed such a waiver does not prevent you from challenging the withholding charges of all or part of your security deposit.

Generally speaking, landlords must provide receipts or other written proof documenting any deductions in excess of $125.00.

A tenant can nullify his or her waiver of this right by making “a request for documentation” within 14 calendar days after receiving the itemized statement. The landlord should comply within 14 calendar days after receiving the written request from the tenant.

If it has been more than 14 days since you received the itemized statement of deductions, you probably cannot benefit from this 14-day nullification rule, but you can still dispute the deductions that appear to be improper.

You can check the itemized list that you received and decide whether you can show that these deductions are improper.

If so, you can still pursue the return of your security deposit, or a portion of it, either through your local mediation organization or through Small Claims Court.

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