What is the law regarding a security deposit return? 1 Answers as of May 31, 2011Im moving out of an apartment but my roommate is staying. She has signed a new lease with the landlord. The landlord says that it is her responsibility to give me my portion of the security deposit since our old lease said that the initial security deposit stays with the unit, and when all occupants move out a single refund check (if there is no damage or missed rent) is made out to all occupants on this agreement. But since a new lease has been signed, doesn't that terminate the old lease and mean the landlord must return the security deposit?
Komanapalli Massey LLP | Mark A. Massey, Esq.
You are correct. The old lease terminated, and the security deposit became due upon the lease's termination because, and this is the critical aspect and the reason you are entitled to a refund of your share from the landlord now, the old lease did not merely transform into a month-to-month lease. Instead, per your statement, the landlord and your old roommate entered a whole new agreement to which you were never a party. That the landlord has decided not to require payment of a new security deposit after refunding the previously paid security deposit is of no consequence to you. You are entitled to your money from the landlord now! Check out California Civil Code section 1950.5.That code section sets forth a litany of requirements with which landlords must comport in respect to security deposits.His/her failure timely to have returned your security may well entitle you to a good deal more in penalties and interest.
Answer Applies to: California