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Old 04-06-2008, 10:31 AM
1 posts, read 7,041 times
Reputation: 11


Our landlord refuses to refund our $4000 security deposit unless we sign a Mutual Liability Release. Prior to giving notice we researched and educated ourselves. Before the initial inspection (we requested), the house was empty, professional cleaned, painted and carpets cleaned. After three years we went well above what we were required to do. The landlord requested only minor items such as pull weeds.
At final inspection landlord was happy, no additional issues were added. We followed up with an email confirming as we had previously.
Three days later we receive an email from the landlord requesting we forward the Mutual Liability Release that we had agreed to sign. We ignored his request; he sent three additional email requests the last stating that we had two copies of the release. My husband replied that a release had not been discussed and requested a copy. We had no intention of signing it was day 18 and we just wanted our $4K back.

On day 21 we received an email stating “we intended to refund your deposit timely, however you have not returned the Release, until then we have no choice but to hold your security deposit”.

I believe that he can now look forward to a significant “bad faith” penalty. Am I wrong?

We are now on day 25!

Also, we are looking for a good lawyer with experience in this area of law.
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:03 AM
Location: Whiteville Tennessee
8,262 posts, read 17,459,690 times
Reputation: 10101
I also believe that you are owed interest on the 4k. That $$ is yours, not the landlords.
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:16 AM
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,557,553 times
Reputation: 3008
Congratulations! You can, indeed, look forward to recovering at least your entire deposit from your landlord since it is past day 21 (The California required time limit) no matter what the damages to the property. Past day 21, if you are in contact with the landlord, and if he has not refunded your deposit, you are entitled to the entire deposit.

Look up California landlord/tenant rights to see if you qualify for further penalties against your landlord. More than likely, he is going to end up owing you triple the amount of your deposit if he doesn't quickly refund it in it's entirety. The liability release is complete bunk and probably illegal to boot.

I would contact a tenant advocacy group first and try to DIY. It's going to cost you at least $200 to get a lawyer to write him a threat letter. Maybe--best case scenario--you'll get a 12,000 ruling against him, after spending 1000's on a lawyer and wasting a lot of the court's time but the trouble, time, and difficulty collecting things like that generally make it not worthwhile to go to court for either party. I can tell you that he's not going to cut you a check for 12K without a fight, but he might see the light of returning your deposit as required by law to make this whole mess go away.

Try using organizations set up to protect tenant's rights to scare him into paying you the deposit back in full and call it even. That's my advice.
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:52 PM
Location: Full time RV"er
2,403 posts, read 6,217,227 times
Reputation: 1494
Default Hold on there ! forgrt the Attorney

Forget the Attorney . there is a easy way to resolve this issue (1-)-- mail him a bill for the return of the $4000 . (2) Wait 7 days if you don't get it (#3 ) go to your local court , get the forms for a small claims suit . ( #4 ) fill them out ( real simple ) file them . He should if he is smart send you a check . If he doesn't then at the court all you need to do is go there , explain to the judge that it has been more than 21days and show the judge his demand . FINISHED !!!! the judge will as i have seen in the past order him to get you a chect the same day + cost or face a contemp charge from the court. All this without an Attorney And it only cost $45.00 to do this .
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