After a residential tenant moves out, how is the landlord supposed to handle the security deposit, and how are any disputes about the security deposit resolved in San Francisco or Oakland?

After a tenant moves out, a landlord has 21 days to either return the deposit in full or to give a letter to the tenant explaining why certain deductions were made from the deposit. If the landlord’s not returning the entire deposit, then the landlord needs to give the tenant an itemized list of all the deductions and also give the tenant copies of receipts for the deductions. If a landlord and tenant can’t agree on the return of the deposit and what amount is appropriate, then the tenant would be within their rights to bring an action against the landlord in small claims court as long as the amount of issue’s under $10,000.

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Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, P.C.

870 Market Street
Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94102

Phone: 415-354-8145
Fax: 415-956-8698
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