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How long do you have to return cleaningdeposit in CA

According to the lease I signed with tenant (off this site) I had 30 days to account for deposit.  I did in 28 days My former tenant states law allows 21 day period in CA and now states I owe penalty of twice the deposit even though their damages exceeded it..   What's the reality?

Joan, the law in California is 21 days to return SD. I've had properties there for years. It sounds like you used a generic lease you picked up somewhere.  I made that mistake one time with my first rental property here in AL and I learned my  lesson.   If you use one of the leases on this site, they have time lines for your state.
What about when you go to court on an eviction case and the judge awards that any deposit is to be retained by the landlord and the plaintiff (renter) waives their right to it, in this case do i need to account for a deposit anyway??
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