I was in an abusive marriage which I finally got out of. During that process we were renting an apartment from landlords who were well aware of the abuse. My husband didn't pay rent and I was forced into turning in my 30 day notice. We paid 5600 for the deposit (rent was 1900). I left the apartment in the 30 days, cleaned, and returned everything. My landlord told me he would deduct 1900 out of the goodness of his heart from my security deposit and I wouldn't have to worry about last months rent.

Fast forward to today when I received the apartments deductions list which only shows my deposit being 3800 which isn't what I paid it was 5600. Then he is then charging me for June again along with July and August at 5700. Plus 1,141.00 for cleaning and blinds. So the total after deducting the 3800 "security" deposit means I owe 3,091.00 to them. They haven't even listed the apartment and there WASN'T any damage to not be able to rent unit.

Can I sue them cause it clearly states 5600 on my Rental lease l, there trying to charge me twice for June, and they are clearly not trying to re-rent the unit?

  • Was it a month to month lease?
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 21:24
  • Jurisdiction also matters. A few places have laws that allow an early termination of a lease for domestic violence. But, most places do not.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 23:06
  • I live in California and it was a year lease.
    – user18322
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 18:58
  • When I did the math he is trying to charge me 8,681.00 total. He is not reflecting my depoist on any documents. When researching I found he can only charge me twice the amount of rent for a depoist which would be 3800. He kept pressing me to vacate the unit early saying he could give me more depoist but that clearly isn't the case. The unit was not destroyed and could be re rented in two weeks. Im giving them that cause the manager is 70 and works part time only meaning past 12 no one is in the office
    – user18322
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 19:04
  • Only they had to do is replace two blinds which they called a professional to come install them. I found out about penal code 1946.7 a few days after I turned in my 30 days. When I asked my property manager about it he said sorry he didnt know, then proceeded to ask me for more proof, which I did, and all he said to me was ok. No let me look onto it and see none of that. He didn't even apologizes for telling my husband he thought I was lying. My husband is facing 12 in state prison I don't think thats faking nor was the two black eyes I sent him a picture of.
    – user18322
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 19:08

2 Answers 2


I'm assuming that you live in the U.S. You don't mention whose name is in the lease (yours or your spouse's), which will be relevant for identifying the statutes & legal theories that support your entitlement to recovery.

Can I sue them cause it clearly states 5600 on my Rental lease l, there trying to charge me twice for june, and there clearly not trying to re'rent the unit.

Yes, but first check out:

  1. what your lease contract says about resolution of disputes, and
  2. whether your state or jurisdiction requires the tenant to pursue other remedies (which typically consist of approaching a state agency) and/or any requirements (such as a cease and desist letter) prior to suing in court.

What you describe sounds in breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraud, embezzlement, and/or other overlapping claims. Depending on your jurisdiction and the details of your situation, the law might entitle you to treble damages plus costs and attorney fees.

Depending on your jurisdiction, your complaint might have to be filed in Small Claims Court if the amount at issue no greater than $10,000 (in some states this number is $5,000). Otherwise the jurisdiction for your claim would be a "normal", state circuit court.

To the extent possible, all your communications to and from the landlord should be in writing. If you communicate by printed letter --rather than by email--, have the landlord sign as receipt your copy of the communication. Evidence in writing could help proving the landlord's unlawful intent (aka mental state), oftentimes an essential element that must be proved in a claim.


There is a right to break a lease early for domestic violence in California and the landlord is not allowed to deduct post-termination rent from the security deposit.

So, apart from the last month's rent, there should have been no other deductions for rent from the security deposit.

The cleaning and blinds are realistically a disputable issue and not worth fighting over in court. Although it seems high, and you could demand evidence of the cost incurred if you are going to court anyway.

I would recommend writing a demand letter with a short deadline (the landlord has 21 days) for a return of the security deposit spelling out the law, and if this does not secure a response, going to small claims court to get a refund of the deposit.

It is also best no to try to focus too much on your husband being awful and the landlord not extending himself or being callous. Focus on his legal obligations as much as possible.

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