Security deposit refund, Landlord didn’t refund or provide statement in 21 days? in CA?

I tried to make it more clear here since the previous question may be confused to you the way I explain. how much does it cost if we want to hire an attorney to get the deposit back?
I wait until April 22`st 2011, since we moved out on March 31st 2011.we have not received any statement or security deposit from my landlord.
The landlord refused to give us the address so we have a real estate agent help to dig out her tax address. and send her email and certified mail.

what can we do to this landlord and the real estate agent? we asked the agent for business card twice, but he won’t provide.he asked us to sign a paper, he never gave us a copy as he promised. we found his realty online. we did take lots of pictures when we move in and move out. we hired a professional to clean the carpet, and change a new window blind for her. we have had the agent sign the paper stated that the unit is clean and in good condition. shall we get the full refund?
Thank you very much for your help

Additional Details
* 9 months ago

What can we do if we found the condominium not cleaned and lots of problems as we do inspection after move-in?
We moved into a personal owned condominium end of June, and we were asked to sign a lease with the landlord on June 4th while holding the condominium,and pay him the whole month and deposit, at that time the landlord still lived there, she told us she will clean up the apartment before we move in.but when we moved in, we just noticed that she didn’t clean the apartment at all, only hire somebody to clean the carpet.

Additional Details
we live in California, please let me
point out some major problems here,
1. we found the faucet broken and leaking underneath, there is mold there since it’s not cleaned. we have two kids, one is 2 years old, the other is new born. I’m afraid it will affect their health.
2. the shower faucet is too old,so we can’t adjust the temperature, we told the landlord, he doesn’t want to fix it.
3. she stored over ten boxes in her storage.
4. the refrigerator is not working well,

Posted in Landlord Tenant Law.

2 Comments

  1. Practically speaking, you have two options if
    the landlord doesn’t honor the 21-day rule. The
    first step for both is to call and write the landlord
    to request a refund of your entire security
    deposit. You can also suggest that the dispute
    be mediated.[see the link below]

    The other option is to sue the landlord in small
    claims court for return of your security deposit.
    however, the landlord then can [and most likely will] file a counterclaim
    against you. In the counterclaim, the landlord
    can assert a right to make deductions from
    the deposit, for example, for unpaid rent or for
    damage to the rental that the landlord alleges
    that you caused. Each party then will have to
    argue in court why he or she is entitled to the
    deposit.

    If you cannot
    successfully work out the problem with your
    landlord, you can file a lawsuit in small claims
    court for the amount of the security deposit plus
    court costs, and possibly also a penalty and
    interest, up to a maximum of $7,500

    You should find the following link very useful:

    http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/catenant.pdf

    Edit: According to California state tenancy law a landlord has 21 days to return all or a portion of your deposit with a statement of charges so I’m not sure where Flower is getting the 30 days from. Perhaps it is changed but I think the source I’ve provided is quite up to date.

  2. Your question is rather confusing. It would cost more than your security deposit to hire a lawyer and that is not necessary.

    You had to provide the landlord with your address in order to receive your security deposit back. Even if the landlord is charging you for a few things, they must spell that out in a letter to you within 30 days, so you should wait til then. If you dont get a letter, you should file a case in Small Claims Court.

    Why do you have to contact the landlord? What paper did the rental agent ask you to sign? Did you give 30 days written notice as required? Did you fulfill the terms of your lease?

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