San Francisco

Landlord Must Inspect at Move-Out

Renters receive refund after NBC Bay Area Responds

When Donnie and Joshua Garcia-Jones moved to San Francisco, they experienced what many experience.

“Sticker shock,” Donnie said.

The couple rented a one-bedroom apartment in downtown San Francisco for $3,500 per month.

The upside to leasing their pricey pad was a "special rate" security deposit of $99. But, when the couple moved out of their apartment, the landlord held their security deposit as a cleaning fee. The landlord also charged them a $75 carpet cleaning fee, which they reluctantly paid.

"I was not real happy with it," Donnie said.

He was unhappy because the couple insists they steam-cleaned the carpet themselves. They say they took 160 pictures to document the condition of the apartment, too. It was "close to perfection," they said.

They also requested a landlord inspection before they moved out.

"We set up a time, I made sure I was off work and was home so I could figure out what I needed to do to get our deposit back," Donnie said. "They never showed up."

Their landlord should have.

California law is clear: The "landlord must perform an initial inspection if the tenant requests it" and "must prepare an itemized statement of repairs or cleaning" the landlord requires.

We contacted the landlord and pointed out the state law. Donnie and Joshua then got their money back.


The couple has given up on living in the city,

"For now," Donnie said, "for now."

We asked the landlord, a large national company, three times to comment for this story. It didn’t respond.

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