Security Deposits in Covina, CA: A Guide for Landlords

Security Deposits in Covina, CA: A Guide for Landlords

From February to December of 2023, there were over 77,000 eviction filings in the Los Angeles area.

If you're a Covina landlord, you never want to become part of this statistic. Filling an eviction begins a long drawn-out process that is both stressful and exhausting. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to curb the likelihood of having to evict a bad tenant.

Firstly, you must screen your tenants thoroughly. Secondly, always ask for security deposits when you get a new tenant. In today's post, we'll explain how security deposits work, so keep reading and you'll see how you can use them to protect your interests.

What Are Security Deposits?

In a nutshell, security deposits are a form of insurance that landlords can use to protect themselves from bad tenant behavior. Most often, they're used to cover the cost of missed rent, delinquent utility payments, or property damage caused by the tenant.

You collect them at the start of the tenancy, then return them at the end of the tenancy. If the tenant hasn't damaged the rental or cost you any other money, you'll return it in full. If they have cost you money, you deduct that cost from the security deposit and return whatever's left over.

Usually, you'll collect the security deposit as you do a move-in inspection. This involves going around the property to look for existing damage. In the end, you do the same inspection, and any new damage is presumed to have been caused by the outgoing tenant, which then comes out of the security deposit.

Security Deposit Laws in California

California has very specific security deposit laws in place to protect tenant rights. If you're renting an unfurnished unit, you can't charge more than the equivalent of 2 month's rent for a security deposit. When the unit is furnished, you may charge the equivalent of 3 months' rent.

At the end of the tenancy, the landlord has 21 days to return the security deposit. If deductions are being made, you'll need to provide an itemized list of deductions and their associated costs.

Withholding Security Deposits

If you choose to withhold some or all of a security deposit, you need evidence of the damage or missed payments. Take lots of pictures and keep all of the receipts for repairs, so in the event an outgoing tenant challenges your claims, you've got proof of the damage.

Landlords must understand the difference between normal wear and actual damage. Damage includes things like large holes in the walls, pet stains, ripped carpet, and broken windows.

How Property Management Can Help

Security deposits are essential for the protection of your rental investment. That said, it can be stressful and awkward to make deductions from a security deposit. In this scenario, it's best to enlist the help of a property manager.

At PMI San Bernadino, we've helped countless landlords manage tenant relations and deal with security deposits. We offer comprehensive property management services, including tenant screening and eviction protection. Contact us today to get more landlord advice and discuss our services.