I've got a couple of issues in the way my former landlord has handled my security deposit. I know the law says the landlord had 21 days to deliver the money, which I assumed means either deliver it in person or put it in the mail.
Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, I gave it an extra week or so before I contacted him by telephone. I left two voice mail messages before he finally responded and said that he had mailed it once and it had been returned by the post office.
When it hadn't arrived after 21 days, I left two telephone messages for my landlord. I gave it an extra week to allow for mail delays and the Thanksgiving holiday. He left a phone message for me saying that he'd mailed the refund once, but it had been returned by the Post Office. An envelope finally arrived. The postmark was the 39th day after I'd moved out. The contents were a money order for part of the deposit (dated the same day as the post mark) and a one-page listing of withholdings, dated about three weeks earlier, totalling more than $600. California law requires that when a landlord deducts more than $125, he/she must also provide copies any bills for materials, supplies and labor supporting the deductions.
I"m wondering how likely it is that I have a bad faith claim against the landlord in this case.
GIven his statement that he'd tried once to send it to me and the mail was returned, that would have given him two chances to make sure his documentation complied with state law. Further, if he'd sent the paperwork out once, why would he have asked the bank to cut a new money order.
That's one question.
Here's a second, in the same vein.
The landlord mails the check, and it comes back. Does the refund belong to the landlord, or is there some law in California that requires the landlord to contact the state controller about putting the money in the care of the state's unclaimed property fund?