• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

California: Lease states that I loose security deposit if I break lease.. for any reason.

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.


Obvious Observer
I always look at different sources as the laws change over time. CA and NY have similar laws regarding breaking a lease agreement early. Where the problem exists for the landlord is collecting the judgement. Some tenants will just skip out not caring about the law or bad credit rating they will get if the landlord sues them.

Now everybody rise: here come the judge...:sneaky:
The only laws that matter are the current ones.

Jack posted a link to California Law from the state of California's own website in post #2.


Senior Member, Non-Attorney
I use this clause in all my Lease Agreements
"All parties agree that termination o this Agreement prior to termination date will constitute breach of the tenancy and all Security Deposits and one full month's rent shall be forfeited in favor of Landlord as liquidated damages plus you will be charged the cost of restoring the property to rental condition plus advertising and rent loss incurred until the new resident moves in. Your liability for rent loss is limited to thirty (30) days after restoration is complete. "
Your clause, as written, would not be allowed in California.


Senior Member, Non-Attorney
No. Zig is correct. Your contract would violate state law and therefore be invalid. Please stop posting nonsense on this site.
To be fair - it's likely that only that clause would be struck, while allowing the remainder of the document would still be valid (assuming it's otherwise valid.)


The law's been posted, but I'll boil it down: You can't take a security deposit as a penalty for breaking a lease.
Here is a link to an article by a LAWYER on this subject with real life situations and mention of security being held by the landlord. He also makes reference to Civil Code § 1951.2(c)(2) and explains it in real life situation and makes mention of clauses like the one in my Lease Agreement which are legal.

[link removed]

Quoted from above [removed] link:

"By the way, if you move early, the landlord will never, ever refund your security deposit, despite the fact that you left the place in pristine condition, which you should always do, if you’re gearing for a fight later on."

I'm a NY Landlord that kicks ass!
Last edited by a moderator:


Senior Member
Torx2, the clause in your lease says that termination of the lease prior to termination date is a breach of the lease and X and Y and Z shall be forfeited in favor of the Landlord.

That is problematic.

Your link to the attorney website was reported. Please read the terms and conditions of this site.

At least you credited the source of your information this time. ;)
Last edited:


Senior Member
When Not2cleverred said >Now everybody rise: here come the judge< all I could think of was Flip Wilson as Geraldine .


Senior Member
<Chuckle> That's exactly what I said in the post which the moderator deleted quoting my source. I guess this forum is opposed to different points of view. Later...
I read the material from the link you posted. The attorney with the blog did NOT say what you thought he said. You quoted a portion of his material out of context.

Please read the terms and conditions of this forum. Commercial messages (and links to attorney websites are commercial messages) are prohibited on this forum.

A link to actual California law has been provided.
Sponsored Ad