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Unfair Withholding of Security Deposit? Need Advice

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What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state? California

Hello, this is my first time posting on this forum. I was actually a first-time renter when renting the place 2 years ago.

I recently moved out on July 31st (written 30-day notice was given) and I was supposed to get my deposit back by Aug 21st, but did not. So I called the resident manager saying that 21 days have passed and I didn't get it, she gave me the excuse "it's 21 business days" and I said I know the law.. it's 21 calendar days, so she said she would call the main office for me.

Now I'm dealing with a big property management company that has had a bad reputation such as illegal eviction to increase rent, improper deduction of deposits, not paying relocation fee, etc. They serve university students in the area, which you all know are the easiest target to be taken advantage of.. especially when they deal with a lot international students (like myself).

On Aug 27th the check arrived, but with a $295 deduction. I read on the DCA's website and it stated "What happens if the landlord doesn't deliver or mail a full refund or the required statement of deductions within 21 days as required by law? According to a California Supreme Court ruling, the landlord loses the right to keep any of the security deposit and must return the entire deposit to you."

Also, if the deduction exceeds $125, the landlord MUST send copies of detailed recepts on each item charged, but no, they didn't do that either. So how could I know they didn't just made up numbers?

What I hate is that they KNOW that most students will not even bother with anything so they're encouraged to do whatever they want (as long as it's subtle enough). I know a lot of students who just don't care how much they're charged and if it's even fair or not.. so the landlord doesn't have to follow the laws mentioned above.

Sorry for the long story but my real question is about the deduction, I'm wondering if it's fair. This is a studio apartment by the way.

1. painting - $170
They didn't say what the useful life of the paint was or how they came up with $170 for that matter.. how many walls did they paint etc. Before moving out, I cleaned the scuff marks off the walls and took pictures.. and I don't know what's considered normal wear and tear when it comes to painting and if the painting was even necessary in the first place?

2. light cleaning on floor around refrigerator and oven only - $50 (this is exactly what they described)
I think this is inflated since it's not even the entire kitchen (I also have pictures) supposed they charge $15/hour there's no way it would take more than 3 hours just to clean that..

3. carpet shampooing - $75
It was shampooed before I moved out – I don't have the receipt but the resident manager saw us having it cleaned and I also took pictures of the guy while he was cleaning. So they obviously can't charge me for this..

$295 may not seem much but I'm a student and make no income, so it's a lot to me. And also, I'd hate to be taken advantage of by these people especially when they have a reputation for that.. just don't wanna be another victim..

On the other hand, I don't mind paying if the deduction is fair and just, and not based on bad faith.

Sorry for the long story and thanks for reading.

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