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Landlord of large complex, owning another complex as well, kept all but $80 of large deposit. Sent letter saying it was for cleaning, not timely. To

1 Answers. Asked on Mar 16th, 2017 on Real Estate - California
More details to this question:
Told my mother they charge $499 for cleaning. They do this to everyone. I want some kind of class action lawsuit. Possible?
Answers Showing 1 out of 1
Answered on Mar 17th, 2017 at 12:12 PM

People sue in small claims court, without attorney fees, for excess cleaning charges and other deductions from tenant deposits, all the time. You probably would not be the only one the court hears at your session. You can sue for up to $10,000.00 in small claims court.

Most class-action lawsuits are handled on a contingent fee basis, where the attorney does not get paid until the end, and then receives a percentage of what is collected. We are not set up to handle cases that way. We charge by the hour, bill monthly, and expect to be paid each month for the work done the month before. 

There may not be enough money involved for a class-action to be economical. There are a lot of procedural hurdles, starting out with certifying the class and that a class-action is appropriate. These are expensive motions. If 40 units turn over every year and the lawsuit went back 4 years, which is probably as far back as the law woudl allow, 160 units X $500.00 each is only $80,000.00. You might find it difficult to find an attorney willing to take a case that small on a contingent-fee basis.

If you appreciate this free advice, please remember to refer me to any friends or acquaintances who need a lawyer. Referrals are still our best source of new business.

Do you have a revocable living trust to protect your heirs against probate? Probate takes forever, is expensive, and is annoying. Do your family a favor. Set up a trust, and put all your property, especially any real property, into the trust. Since it is revocable, you can change it, add to it, take property out of it, or even cancel it completely, at any time. We set up such trusts, provide a pour-over will as a back-up for any property that does not make it into the trust, provide you with blank durable powers of attorney for health care and financial decisions, in case you become incapable of making such decisions while still alive, and convey one piece of real property to the trust, usually the family home, for $1500.00. If you would like to hire me to do this, let me know, and I'll send you a list of the information I need.

Dana Sack


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