- The deposit can be used to pay for cleaning or damages. Damages can include but are not limited to the physical rental unit, appliances (if your rental agreement includes real and personal property), the common areas (if the tenant or their guests cause the damage), etc.
- Under State law tenants are required to bring the unit back to the condition it was when rented minus ordinary wear and tear.
- The security deposit is not intended to include the last month's rent unless specified in the rental agreement. The maximum security deposit a landlord can require is as follows:
- Unfurnished rental unit: The total amount is two times the monthly rent. If the tenant has water furniture (i.e. water bed, aquarium, etc.) the maximum deposit is two-and-a-half times the monthly rent.
- Furnished rental unit: The total amount is three times the monthly rent. If the tenant has water furniture (i.e. water bed, aquarium, etc.) the maximum deposit is three-and-a-half times the monthly rent.
The landlord may require additional deposit amounts for keys or pets, however the total of the security deposit can't exceed the limits listed above that are governed by California law.
Return of the Deposit
Generally the deposit must be returned within 21 calendar days of returning possession of the rental unit to the landlord. If however there are damages that cannot be completed within that time frame, the landlord is allowed to hold the estimated cost of the additional repairs. If this is the case the former tenant should receive notification within the first 21 days after returning possession that all or part of the deposit is being held pending uncompleted repairs. Within 14 days of the repairs being completed any unused deposit must be returned to the former tenant.