Kelly Osbourne is being sued by her former landlord for $50,000 over claims in connection with the apartment rented to her by landlord Arshia Refousa. Refousa asserts she had the right to keep Osbourne’s $18,700 deposit in April 2013 because of the West Hollywood condo’s condition when she left.
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;214
- 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.
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.
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. 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.
Axis Legal Counsel is a general practice law firm based out of Los Angeles, California, focusing on the aggressive representation of individuals and business clients in a variety of legal matters in a client-focus, results-driven and no-nonsense approach. Axis’s practice areas span individual/business litigation, privacy litigation and data security, corporate/start-ups, entertainment, employment & wage/hour, non-profits, risk management, class actions, slander/defamation, insurance/bad faith, estate/trust/probate disputes, technology, and civil rights.
If your rights have been violated by a landlord, please contact us at (213) 403-0130 or email@example.com for a confidential consultation.