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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Landlord-Tenant Law - Legal Services Support Section-West
The Legal Services Support Sectioncan assists individuals with landlord/tenant matters.
Should an individual have any problems with a landlord, our office can provide assistance on the law and contact the opposing party to resolve the problem.

Common issues that this office can assists you with:

  1. Rental property that is uninhabitable
  2. Illegal retainer of security deposit or prepaid rent
  3. Illegal fines or penalties
  4. Early termination of a lease
In order to ensure full assistance, an individual should bring the following items:

  1. Rental Agreement
  2. All correspondence with the landlord or property manager
  3. Contact information on the landlord or property manager

Security Deposit Refunds

One of the most common problems is a disagreement between the landlord and the tenant over the refund of the security deposit when the tenant moves out. California law specifically allows the landlord to use a tenant’s security deposit for 4 purposes: unpaid rent; cleaning (but only to make the unit as clean as it was when the tenant moved in); for repair of damages (other than normal wear and tear); if the rental agreement allows it then the cost to replace keys or furniture. Under California law, 21 calendar days or less after you move, your landlord must either: Send you a full refund of your security deposit; or mail or personally deliver to you an itemized statement that lists the amounts of any deductions from you security deposit and the reasons for the deductions, together with a refund of any amounts not deducted. The landlord also must send you copies of receipts for the charges that the landlord incurred to repair or clean the rental unit and that the landlord deducted from you security deposit. The landlord must include the receipts with the itemized statement.

Uninhabitable Property

There are many kinds of defects that could make a rental unit unlivable. Should the individual feel the premises are uninhabitable, you should inform the landlord in writing of the situation. Individuals with landlord/tenant issues should consult an attorney prior to conducting self-help repairs, withholding rent, or abandoning the property.

Early Termination

Military members are entitled to break a lease before its normal expiration date if they receive PCS orders or deployment orders for a deployment that will last more than 90 days. The tenant must provide written notice to the landlord and provide a copy of the orders. The military member is liable for the remainder of the current month plus one more month on the lease. For example: If a member provides notice and orders on July 30, the lease will terminate on Aug 31, but if the member provides notice and orders on Aug 2, the lease will terminate on Sept 30. Proper planning is important to forego having to pay an extra month of rent.