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The connection between subleasing and security deposits

| Dec 10, 2020 | Landlord/Tenant Concerns |

Many people in Los Angeles rent an apartment rather than owning their own home. However, life circumstances can change, and a Los Angeles resident may find that they have to move out of their apartment before their lease is up. When this happens, you may seek to sublet your apartment. It is important to note that California has strict laws when it comes to subleasing.

Subleasing and security deposits

Even if you find someone to sublease your apartment, you are still responsible for rent should the subtenant fail to pay. You are also responsible for paying a security deposit. For these reasons, tenants may request that their subtenants contribute to the security deposit and ask for the first and last month’s rent ahead of time in a written agreement.

Per California law, you can ask for up to two months rent for a security deposit if you are subleasing an unfurnished rental or three months rent for a furnished rental. However, once the subtenant moves out, you must return this deposit with interest within 21 days.

Damages covered by security deposits

A security deposit paid by a subtenant can be used to cover damages or repairs made to the rental unit, rent that has gone unpaid and cleaning costs once the subtenant moves out. However, a security deposit cannot be used for minor, normal wear and tear. If a tenant is using the subtenant’s security deposit to pay for necessary expenses, they must provide the subtenant with an itemized list of what repairs were paid for and provide copies of the receipts from the payments of these repairs.

Subletting may not be your only option

As this shows, you have responsibilities as a tenant subleasing your apartment. Some people may find subleasing to be beneficial, but others may want to work with their landlord to explore other options. A California landlord-tenant attorney may be a good source of information in such circumstances.