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Old 02-23-2009, 09:57 PM
2 posts, read 7,698 times
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I was on a month-to-month lease requiring 60 days notice to move out. Because of serious family illness, I needed to break the lease with only 30 days notice. (My landlord had earlier told me I could break the lease with only a few weeks notice, but he changed his mind when I actually needed to do so.)

I contacted him after more than 21 days had passed after I vacated the apartment, and I still hadn't received my security deposit or a list of deductions. He claimed that he does not need to return the deposit until after the end of the lease (30 days after I vacated the apt) or when the apartment is rented again, whichever comes first.

I am confused. The law is explicit that the 21 day countdown starts from the day the tenant moves out, not from the end of the lease. Yet the landlord is insistent that he does not have to return the security deposit yet.

Is he correct? I thought that after 21 days, he loses the right to make any deductions from the deposit. I realize that I did end the lease early, but I don't know if that frees him from his own legal obligations.

I would really appreciate advice from you wise forum members! This place is a wonderful resource.
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:01 PM
11,151 posts, read 13,791,023 times
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Sorry, but doesn't "month-to-month" mean that you only have to give 30 days' notice (since that's *one month*)?
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:08 PM
2 posts, read 7,698 times
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Sorry! I'm probably using the wrong terminology. It did say in the lease that 60 day notice was required.
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Old 04-02-2009, 12:25 PM
Location: Southern California
60 posts, read 214,505 times
Reputation: 38
Civil Code 1950.5 (g)(1) says:
No later than 21 calendar days after the tenant has vacated the premises, but not earlier than the time that either the landlord or the tenant provides a notice to terminate the tenancy under Section 1946 or 1946.1, Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or not earlier than 60 calendar days prior to the expiration of a fixed-term lease, the landlord shall furnish the tenant, by personal delivery or by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a copy of an itemized statement indicating the basis for, and the amount of, any security received and the disposition of the security and shall return any remaining portion of the security to the tenant.
Sounds to me like he has 21 days from when you vacated/returned the keys.

Plus the Supreme Court of California ruled in 2005 that a landlord cannot keep your security deposit for "future" rent-loss, such as in the case of a broken lease. So basically, he has to return whatever is left of your deposit after 21 days. Now... if he's unable to rent it after the full 60 days (and he's made a reasonable effort to rent it out), he can still bill you for those damages.
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