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New Owner of Property Won't Return Deposit

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I have lived in an apartment building in Southern California (Los Angeles) for 6 years. During my tenancy the property was put into bankruptcy and then owned and sold twice. Although I have always paid my rent (with several increases) on time and have observed all the rules of the property and have thoroughly cleaned the apartment and returned the keys to the onsite manager, the current owner will not return my deposit. His answer to my inquiries about my deposit is that he is not responsible for my deposit. The owner who originally rented me the apartment went bankrupt in 1996 and therefore the old deposits made with that owner are gone. Only the deposits from new tenants that rented under his ownership are his responsibilty.

Do I have any recourse? My deposit is only $685.00. Should I go to small claims court to try and recover my deposit or is that a waste of time? Shouldn't I have been notified that I was in jeopardy of losing my deposit?

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