How Would YOU Rule?How Would
YOU Rule?  

Zi Wang brings suit for refund of his security deposit. Landlord Amy Lozario argues she does not have to refund the money because the carpets must be replaced and she is entitled to apply the security deposit toward making any necessary repairs to return the unit to the same level of cleanliness it was in at the inception of the tenancy. Wang’s pet poodle had scratched one area of the carpet, and there was one wine stain.

How would you rule?
    a. Judgment for tenant Wang 
  
 
    b. Judgment for landlord Lozario  
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Review Answer


The correct answer is b, judgment for landlord Lozario.

The landlord need not refund tenant’s security deposit to the extent the damage to the carpet fell outside normal wear and tear. From the limited facts here, it appears the scratches and stain are beyond normal wear and tear. However, in general, a landlord must bear the costs of replacing old carpets. In calculating repair costs, some judges estimate the “useful life” of carpets, drapes, or paint, and then calculate repair damages based on the remaining useful life of the item.

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How Would YOU Rule?How Would
YOU Rule?  

Tenant Tina O’Toole claims she is entitled to the return of her security deposit and screening fee because she left the rental unit as clean as the day she moved in. Landlord Ralph Razban, however, claims that he is entitled to keep at least a portion of O’Toole’s security deposit because she did not give sufficient notice to terminate the tenancy. Razban also asserts that the screening fee is nonrefundable.

How would you rule?

    a. Judgment for tenant O’Toole
  
 
    b. Judgment for landlord Razban 
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review Answer


The correct answer is b, judgment for landlord Razban.

A tenant who vacates on insufficient notice is obligated to pay rent for the minimum notice period (typically one month on a month-to-month lease) beginning when the tenant did give notice or, if no notice was given, beginning when he or she vacated. [See CC §1946; Schmitt v Felix (1958) 157 CA2d 642, 648.] Landlord Razban is entitled to keep a portion of the security deposit to cover for tenant O’Toole’s lack of notice. Razban may also retain the application screening fee, up to $30, to cover the costs of obtaining information about the applicant. [See CC §1950.6.]

 

 

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