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Tenant Refuses to Provide Forwarding Address – What Can I Do?

Under California law, the handling of a tenant’s security deposit is subject to specific regulations to ensure fair and transparent practices. One crucial requirement is that landlords must provide a written account of the security deposit within 21 days of the tenant vacating the unit. 

This detailed breakdown must include any deductions made, especially for items costing $125 or more, for which the landlord is obligated to furnish receipts or estimates.

In scenarios where a tenant fails to provide a forwarding address, the landlord is still responsible for preparing the itemization and sending it to the last known address, which, in this case, would be the recently vacated unit. 

This obligation stands regardless of whether the tenant has officially informed the post office of their change of address. If the tenant has updated their address with the postal service, any correspondence, including the security deposit itemization, would be forwarded accordingly. If, for any reason, the letter is returned undelivered, the landlord should retain it as documentation, especially in the event of potential legal action.

Failure to comply with these statutory obligations can have legal consequences for landlords. In the given situation, if the landlord neglects to send the required itemization within the stipulated time frame or fails to keep records of attempts to forward the information, a court could potentially rule against the landlord. 

While the court may take into consideration the tenant’s role in the situation, it is crucial for landlords to adhere strictly to the legal requirements to protect themselves from any potential legal repercussions. Even in cases where tenants may not fully cooperate, landlords must fulfill their obligations under the law to maintain a fair and lawful tenancy process.