At East Bay Property Management, we’ve been managing properties throughout East Bay, California for decades. Throughout our experience managing these local properties, we have found many mistakes that landlords frequently make.

In this article, we are going to go over one specific landlord mistake; we’re going to discuss the security deposit refund.

We’re certain that at least half of the disputes between landlords and tenants have to do with the security deposit refund. If you want to avoid this type of dispute, keep on reading to make sure that you’re handling your security deposit correctly and in a fair manner.


Security Deposit Refund Form

Our team understands that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a new or a more experienced East Bay landlord, everyone can use a helping hand.

That’s why we’ve equipped our website with different resources that can help you through your journey. The security deposit refund form can be downloaded off of our website under “owner resources” or you can just click here to access the file.

When you’re filling out this form, make sure to put the tenant’s name, the address that you’re residing at, and the exact amount of the original security deposit. With this being completed, you’re ready to make your deductions.


What Can a Landlord Deduct From The Security Deposit in California?

From the security deposit, you’re able to deduct any rent payments that are owed to you, the utility costs owed to you, their late fees, and any cleaning fees that are required.

What to Deduct?

In most cases, tenants are not able to keep the home in the exact same condition as it was prior to them moving in.

1. Cleaning Costs

This is where most of the deductions come from. To clean an average three-bedroom-two-bath home professionally including inside windows here in the East Bay is right around $300.

So, that’s often deducted from the security deposit if the home was very clean prior to them moving in.

2. Untimely Damages

You’re also able to deduct damage to the carpet, paint, and blinds. These should all have at least a three-year lifespan.

So, in other words, if the paint was brand-new prior to the tenant moving in, and they only resided in the home for one year, you should not have repaint any walls when they move out.

Because they were there one year, and the paint should have a three-year lifespan, you can then deduct two-thirds of the cost of the paint from their security deposit.

If they were there two years you’re only able to deduct from their security deposit one-third of the painting cost.

And if they were there three years you can’t make any deductions on the carpet, paint, or blinds, because they have a three-year lifespan.

Other Items You Can Deduct

You’re also able to deduct for any unusual wear and tear. You can’t deduct normal wear and tear from the security deposit, but if something was broken or abused, you’re able to make that deduction.

Now, when it comes to your deductions in form, it’s mandatory that you send the security deposit return form and any monies owed within 21 days of the tenant moving out of the home.

If it’s not done within 21 days then the tenant is entitled to 100% of their security deposit, so make sure that that’s done within 21 days.

Any deductions over $125 require a receipt (at least an estimate). If you don’t provide one then the deductions are not considered valid in small claims court.


If you have any questions at all call me, Mike, at 510-996-3238.

Good luck, and happy land-lording!