In 2012 Tenants Together conducted a survey of our members, finding that 60% experienced unfair withholding of some or all of their deposit.The report recommended two reforms to ensure that tenants are not unfairly deprived of their deposits. First, it is recommended that tenant deposits be kept in accounts that are separate from the landlord's personal. Second, it is recommended that mandatory penalties be imposed for improper retention of security deposit funds by landlords.
State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) agreed to author legislation to institute real deterrants for security deposit theft in 2013. The protections were reasonable, in fact regulations that tenants in Alabama enjoy. Unfortunately, the bill died on the State Senate floor, with even "progressive" Senators echoing real estate industry talking points to mischaracterize the bill.