Does California law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?

Yes. Under California landlord-tenant laws, a landlord may charge a renter the equivalent of two months’ rent for the security deposit if the residence is unfurnished, and three months’ rent if the residence is furnished. If the tenant is an active duty service member, the security deposit can be only one month’s rent for an unfurnished rental and two months’ rent for a furnished rental.

What is the deadline in California for returning a security deposit?

A landlord must return the renter’s security deposit with an itemized statement of deductions, within 21 days after the tenant has returned the keys and vacated the property.

As a renter, what can you do to make sure you get your deposit back?

  • Attend the landlord’s final property inspection – so you can fix problems or do more cleaning if needed
  • Understand what your landlord’s expectations about cleaning – so you don’t end up under-cleaning or over-cleaning.
  • Document your cleaning and repair work – clean thoroughly and fix any damage you or your pets have caused. Return all keys when you leave. Remove everything from the property including trash, food, and cleaning supplies. Take photos and videos of the rental when you’re done
  • Give the landlord your forwarding address – so the landlord can send you the security deposit

Kong Property Management Group provides property management and leasing services to the greater part of Silicon Valley. We specialize in single-family homes, condos, townhomes, duplexes, as well as apartment buildings. Based in San Jose, Kong Property Management Group is a local and family-owned business with over 15 years of combined experience in residential property management, real estate sales, and appraisal.