What is the law regarding refunding security deposits?

Processing your security deposit refund

Refunding Your Security Deposit

What is the law regarding refunding security deposits?

1. California law specifies procedures that the landlord must follow for refunding, using, and accounting for tenants’ security deposits.

2. California law specifically allows the landlord to use a tenant’s security deposit for four purposes:

  • For unpaid rent;
  •  For cleaning the rental unit when the tenant moves out, but only to make the unit as clean as it was when the tenant first moved in;
  • For repair of damages, other than normal wear and tear, caused by the tenant or the tenant’s guests;
  • and if the lease or rental agreement allows it, for the cost of restoring or replacing furniture, furnishings, or other items of personal property (including keys), other than because of normal wear and tear.

3. A landlord can withhold from the security deposit only those amounts that are reasonably necessary for these purposes. The security deposit cannot be used for repairing defects that existed in the unit before you moved in, for conditions caused by normal wear and tear during your tenancy or previous tenancies, or for cleaning a rental unit that is as clean as it was when you moved in.

4. A rental agreement or lease can never state that a security deposit is “nonrefundable.”

5. Under California law, 21 calendar days or less after you move, your landlord must either:

  • Send you a full refund of your security deposit, or
  • Mail or personally deliver to you an itemized statement that lists the amounts of any deductions from your security deposit and the reasons for the deductions, together with a refund of any amounts not deducted.

6. The landlord also must send you copies of receipts for the charges that the landlord incurred to repair or clean the rental unit and that the landlord deducted from your security deposit.

7. The landlord must include the receipts with the itemized statement.  The landlord must follow these rules:

  • If the landlord or the landlord’s employees did the work– The itemized statement must describe the work performed, including the time spent and the hourly rate charged. The hourly rate must be reasonable.
  • If another person or business did the work– The landlord must provide you copies of the person’s or business’ invoice or receipt. The landlord must provide the person’s or business’ name, address, and telephone number on the invoice or receipt, or in the itemized statement.
  • If the landlord deducted for materials or supplies– The landlord must provide you a copy of the invoice or receipt. If the item used to repair or clean the unit is something that the landlord purchases regularly or in bulk, the landlord must reasonably document the item’s cost (for example, by an invoice, a receipt or a vendor’s price list).
  • If the landlord made a good faith estimate of charges– The landlord is allowed to make a good faith estimate of charges and include the estimate in the itemized statement in two situations: (1) the repair is being done by the landlord or an employee and cannot reasonably be completed within the 21 days, or (2) services or materials are being supplied by another person or business and the landlord does not have the invoice or receipt within the 21 days. In either situation, the landlord may deduct the estimated amount from your security deposit. In situation (2), the landlord must include the name, address and telephone number of the person or business that is supplying the services or materials.
  • Within 14 calendar days after completing the repairs or receiving the invoice or receipt, the landlord must mail or deliver to you a correct itemized statement, the invoices and receipts described above, and any refund to which you are entitled.
  1. The landlord must send the itemized statement, copies of invoices or receipts, and any good faith estimate to you at the address that you provide. If you do not provide an address, the landlord must send these documents to the address of the rental unit that you moved from.

9. The landlord is not required to send you copies of invoices or receipts, or a good faith estimate, if the repairs or cleaning cost less than $126 or if you waive your right to receive them. If you wish to waive the right to receive these documents, you may do so by signing a waiver when the landlord gives you a 30-day or 60-day notice to end the tenancy, when you give the landlord a 30-day notice to end the tenancy, when the landlord servers you with a three-day note to end the tenancy or after any of these notices. If you have a lease, you may waive this right no earlier than 60 days before the lease ends. The waiver form given to you by the landlord must include the text of the security deposit law that describes your right to receive receipts.

10. What if the repairs cost less than $126 or you waived your right to receive copies of invoices, receipts and any good faith estimate? The landlord still must send you an itemized statement 21 calendar days or less after you move, along with a refund of any amounts not deducted from your security deposit. When you receive the itemized statement, you may decide that you want copies of the landlord’s invoices, receipts and any good faith estimate. You may request copies of these documents from the landlord within 14 calendar days after you receive the itemized statement. It’s best to make this request both orally and in writing. Keep a copy of your letter or e-mail. The landlord must send you copies of invoices, receipts and any good faith estimate within 14 calendar days after he or she receives your request.

11. What should you do if you believe that your landlord has made an improper deduction from your security deposit, or if the landlord keeps all of the deposit without good reason?

12. Tell the landlord or the landlord’s agent why you believe that the deductions from your security deposit are improper. Immediately ask the landlord or agent for a refund of the amount that you believe you’re entitled to get back. You can make this request by phone or e-mail, but you should follow it up with a letter. The letter should state the reasons that you believe the deductions are improper, and the amount that you feel should be returned to you. Keep a copy of your letter. It’s a good idea to send the letter to the landlord or agent by certified mail and to request a return receipt to prove that the landlord or agent received the letter. Or, you can deliver the letter personally and ask the landlord or agent to acknowledge receipt by signing and dating your copy of the letter.

  1. If the landlord or agent still doesn’t send you the refund that you think you’re entitled to receive, try to work out a reasonable compromise that is acceptable to both of you. You also can suggest that the dispute be mediated by a neutral third person or agency.
  1. What if the landlord doesn’t provide a full refund, or a statement of deductions and a refund of amounts not deducted, by the end of the 21-day period as required by law? According to a California Supreme Court decision, the landlord loses the right to keep any of the security deposit and must return the entire deposit to you. Even so, it may be difficult for you to get your entire deposit back from the landlord.
  1. Practically speaking, you have two options if the landlord doesn’t honor the 21-day rule. The first step for both is to call and write the landlord to request a refund of your entire security deposit. You can also suggest that the dispute be mediated. If the landlord presents good reasons for keeping some or all of your deposit for a purpose listed above, it’s probably wise to enter into a reasonable compromise with the landlord. This is because the other option is difficult and the outcome may be uncertain.
  1. The other option is to sue the landlord in small claims court for return of your security deposit. However, the landlord then can file a counterclaim against you. In the counterclaim, the landlord can assert a right to make deductions from the deposit, for example, for unpaid rent or for damage to the rental that the landlord alleges that you caused. Each party then will have to argue in court why he or she is entitled to the deposit.



renters' insurance

What is renters’ insurance?

What is renters’ insurance?  

1. Renters’ insurance is an insurance policy that provides most of the benefits of homeowners insurance.

2. It does not include coverage of the structure or the dwelling. An exception may be small alterations that a tenant makes to the structure.

3. Personal property coverage, a typical component of renters’ insurance, may help cover the cost of replacing your stuff if it’s unexpectedly damaged or ruined. That protection generally applies to certain risks (also referred to as “perils”), such as fire and theft.

4. Landlord insurance is designed to help protect the owner’s dwelling, while you, the renter, are usually responsible for protecting the belongings you keep inside. Similarly, while landlord insurance may offer liability protection for the policyholder, that protection typically does not extend to tenants

5. Many large and medium sized rental properties will include a requirement in their lease that tenants hold renters’ insurance.

6. It is important to know what type of damage your insurance covers. Typically, there are three types of coverages available. They are loss of use, personal property, and personal liability.

7. If your possessions are stolen during a break-in or damaged by a fire or severe windstorm, a renters insurance policy can allow you to recover their value.

8. If someone is injured during an accident in your home and you are alleged to be legally responsible, renters insurance may help protect you in the case a liability lawsuit.

9. Check out the Insurance Information Institute’s website and read their informative article called Your Renters Insurance Checklist:


What is the average cost of renter’s insurance?

  • The average cost of renters insurance is $187 per year, according to the most recent data available from the NAIC.

Please check out this link for more info on the average cost. http://www.valuepenguin.com/average-cost-renters-insurance

Here are some links to a couple companies that can provide renters’ insurance:


State Farm

AAA Renters Insurance

Common Myths about Renters Insurance

 1. “The landlord’s insurance covers me.”

  • Your landlord’s insurance generally only covers the building where you live.
  • It does not cover your personal belongings and your liability.

2. “I don’t need personal liability insurance”

  • Your landlord’s policy most likely does not include liability coverage protecting you for something that happens in your rented residence.
  • You could be held legally responsible for injury to another person or damage to another person’s property if an incident occurred within your rented residence, or elsewhere.

3. “I don’t own very much.”

  • Most people’s belongings are often worth more than they think. That’s one reason why you need renters insurance coverage.
  • Some insurance policies are flexible, allowing you to select the coverages and insurance amounts that suit your needs.

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Get Approved Tips for Filling Out Your Application to Rent

Tips for Filling Out Your Application to Rent


  1. The rental application is required for each occupant 18 years of age or older.
  2. RENTAL HISTORY: Please list your rental history and check the phone numbers by calling them before writing them in the application. Don’t leave your rental history blank and put N/A if needed in any blanks. Completed rental history will make you a stronger applicant to the owner. It will help if your application looks complete and the owner does not have to request you to fill that section out.
  3. CREDITORS: List your creditors that hold your debts and include average monthly payment. Some examples are car loans, credit cards and school loans.
  4. REFERENCES: Please list a minimum of two people who can be reached. Each person have must their own references and they cannot be landlords or family members.
  5. OCCUPANTS: Please list all the people you plan to live with in the apartment. If you won’t have roommates, please put self.
  6. Showing the landlord that you can pay the rent: What do you do for a living? Are you a salary, independent contractor, or freelancing?  Did you start your job or did you just move to LA? Are you a student?
  7. PROOF OF INCOME: Typically, you will need to show that your income is over three times the monthly rent.
  8. What can you show the landlord that you can afford the rent?Do you have pay check stubs? If it is a new job, please also submit last pay stubs from your last employer and the offer letter from your new employer.  Some landlords may need three months bank statements in this situation if you are starting a new job.
  9. NEW POSITIONS (LESS THAN 3 MONTHS): If you have a new job, please submit an official signed offer letter. This must be on company letterhead, showing income, part or full-time, start date & signed by employer. Also include any current paystubs you have received thus far. For new employment, savings is very important. Include bank statements showing reserves/savings and pay stubs from previous job.
  10. SINGLE JOB/SALARY: If you have one source of income and your pay stub, list the year to date, two current pay stubs are acceptable. Submit bank statements with savings reserves in order to have a stronger application package.
  11. FREELANCE/COMMISSION/MULTIPLE SOURCES: If your income varies for any reason, provide a minimum of three (3) months of bank statements. If the deposits vary dramatically you may want to provide more than 3 statements to show the usual average deposit. You can also show more bank statements if you think it would make your application stronger. For the bank statements, you will only need to show the summary of your bank statements. Please try to pdf the bank statement.
  12. If you are a student, please provide documentation for student loans and student ID.
  13. If you have a cosigner, the cosigner has to fill out a separate application, credit check and also submit the same documents as the applicant such as bank statements, driver’s license and pay check stubs.
  14. Check to make sure that you have submitted all necessary documents: A copy of your driver’s license, application, credit report, pay check stubs, your bank statement and a short bio about yourself and your occupation.


From DTLA to Santa Monica on the Metro!

Took the Metro from DTLA to Santa Monica today! It drops you off near Santa Monica Place and near the pier! This is a game changer for LA and will make the beach much more accessible to everyone! Congratulations LA!


Metro flyer

Just Leased by Los Angeles Realtor® Maple Navarro!

Barker Block for lease

Just Leased Barker Block Unit 310 by Maple Navarro!


Just Leased by Los Angeles Realtor® Maple Navarro! Unit 310!

$2,900 a month, 1,060 sq. ft. 1bd, 1ba “Let’s Find Your Dream loft!”

Barker Block Just Leased!
DTLA Realtor® Maple Navarro represented the tenant!

– Negotiating prices
– Facilitating the lease process
– Informing clients of move in procedures of the building
– Showing clients lofts and apartments to their specifications
– Accompanying clients during move in inspections
– Scheduling showing appointments
– Putting together complete and thorough lease applications

Barker Block Lofts description

Barker Block condos lofts is located in the Arts District. The Baker Block condos lofts provides residents with industrial style lofts with soaring ceilings, immense windows and space.  Constructed in 1880, the Barker Block condos lofts was modernized by the KOR Group in 2007.  The Barker Block condos lofts is seven interconnected buildings each from a different era. The architecture merges classical industrial design with contemporary live/work design and raw urban aesthetics.   The first part of the Barker Block condos lofts , a storage warehouse for the Barker Bros. Furniture Company, opened in 1905.  That came 25 years after the birth of the company, whose Downtown Los Angeles store was one of the first furniture outlets for the city.

The Barker Block condos lofts complex  was once a storage facility for the Barker Brothers furniture store, though it had stood abandoned for 20 years.  The original buildings were brick structures with timber interiors. In 1915, came cement facilities, and in the 1930s, low-rise industrial structures were added. The last arrived in 1960. The compilation affords residents the option to live in cement, wood or brick structures.

The Barker Block condos lofts presents open, light infused spaces in its lofts. The residences have authentic loft features with its unmistakable Kor Group style. The Barker Block condos lofts have historic details, exposed brick, polished concrete floors and wide open living spaces.

Contact Maple Navarro for more listings at Barker Block lofts!

Maple Navarro
Greenstone Properties Downtown L.A. Real Estate Agent
(310) 430-1949
CALBRE # 01924421

Find Your Dream Loft at Barker Block Lofts today!

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