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  1. #1
    terracotta123 is offline Member
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    tenant breaks lease and mails keys

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
    CA

    Tenant has terminated lease early and I have to provide an accounting of security deposit. Can I withhold security deposit toward 1 months rent for breaking lease early? what do I say in my accounting statement for security deposit?
  2. #2
    Sparkly is offline Junior Member
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    From what I recall in my Landlord book--and granted, that could be old info by now so maybe someone else will correct me if I'm wrong--you have 21 days to give an accounting of the security deposit and return it, or what's left of it.

    I believe it is against the law in CA for you to withhold the security deposit and apply it toward rent. Rent and security deposits are two different things. You cannot use the security deposit as rent money.

    As for your accounting statement for the security deposit, what, if anything, was beyond normal wear and tear? Did they leave the place clean or did you have to hire a cleaning service, etc.?
  3. #3
    atomizer is offline Senior Member
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    Actually, if the tenant owes you rent, then it is considered damage and you can deduct it from the security deposit along with all other charges like cleaning, repairs and cost of disposing of left over junk.
  4. #4
    sandyclaus is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by terracotta123 View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
    CA

    Tenant has terminated lease early and I have to provide an accounting of security deposit. Can I withhold security deposit toward 1 months rent for breaking lease early? what do I say in my accounting statement for security deposit?
    Here is the authoritative info on your inquiry: [url=http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/sec-deposit.shtml]California Tenants - California Department of Consumer Affairs[/url]

    Summary: You have 21 days from the tenant's return of possession to you to either return the security deposit or a full accounting of any deductions to that deposit along with any remaining balance.

    Yes, unpaid rent is considered damages, but as a CA LL, you are required to mitigate damages and actively seek a new tenant to replace the one that broke his lease. You may hold the former tenant liable for ALL unpaid rent until that happens, as well as any expenses or costs you incur to re-rent the unit, including advertising and screening costs. Some LLs estimate that, but most judges will disallow a deduction of more than 2 months' rent unless the LL can prove due diligence in finding a replacement tenant.

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