How to get your security deposit back in San Diego

More than half of San Diego County residents are renters and almost all have to put down a significant amount of money when they move into a new place. The dreaded security deposit typically involves one month’s rent but there are also extreme cases of requiring first and last month’s rent up front.

Since 2003, I have lived in 19 apartments across 11 cities. Aside from having a pretty wild sight-seeing adventure, moving was always difficult and security deposits were a huge issue. There was always the anxiety of waiting to get my landlord to give the deposit back while trying to get enough money for my new place.

Recently, I had a Hillcrest property manager tell me I couldn’t get a $300 pet deposit back because it was nonrefundable. I informed her that was illegal in California and, eventually, the landlord got involved and I got the deposit back.

There are likely hundreds of renters across San Diego County having similar issues — especially with a historically low homeownership rate in the county. Landlords also need protection from nightmare tenants but, on the flip side, tenants fighting bad landlords may need additional money they don’t have for a legal battle.

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