The Do’s and Don’ts of Getting Your Damage Deposit Back

Real Estate

Source: Zillow &

Tug of war with cashLandlords and tenants often disagree over what qualifies as inevitable wear-and-tear during move-out. Typically, reputable landlords don’t hold residents liable for minor wall scratches and scuffed floors. Even so, you can never be sure how reasonable a landlord is until your deposit is safely returned.

Each tenant and property manager is different, so we turned to personal finance writers to provide insight on their personal experiences with damage deposits.

1. Do you conduct an initial walk-through before signing a lease?

I have taken pictures when doing a walk-through of an apartment. It really has saved me later on when I moved out and the owner claimed I owed money for damage that was already there. If it weren’t for me taking these pictures, I would have been responsible for hundreds of dollars’ worth of stuff that was not my responsibility. There is no arguing with photographic evidence. — Natalie H.

I don’t recall doing an initial walk-through, only seeing an equivalent apartment beforehand. It was a fairly new complex, so there were no noticeable damages when we moved in, and we didn’t damage the property and received our deposits back promptly. — Lena Gott

2. In your experience, what are the most common damages you’ve made or seen in apartments?

The most common damages are usually stains to the carpet and screens. I also try to spot clean any stains on the carpet, so we are not charged. We’ve always been able to get the carpets clean enough before a walk-through to avoid any charges. Remember to agree to in writing who is responsible for cleaning the carpets when you move out. Repairing screens is something you can fix yourself easily and inexpensively before your landlord does a final inspection. — Toni Anderson

3. Why do damages sometimes go overlooked?

I think it’s easy to overlook the damage that occurs when a renter does not keep their home in a clean and organized condition. Some people are much harder on their living space than others, and you never really know whether you’ll get someone like that until it’s too late. — Holly Johnson

4. Any recommendations during move-in or move-out to help secure returned damage deposits?

Meet with the landlord on-site during move-in and move-out and get their assessment in writing of any damages they intend to levy. Also, check your local laws carefully to understand your rights. For example, rather than fighting in court with an old landlord over keeping part of my deposit for bogus pre-existing damages, I got them to return my money on the technicality that they didn’t give me timely notice of their intent to keep part of the deposit. — Wojciech Kulicki

5. Any rental damage horror stories?

When we were renting we had a hot water pipe (from baseboard heating) break around a faulty soldering joint. We weren’t home, and thousands of dollars’ worth of damage was done before we knew about it. The landlord was originally very accommodating but after everything was fixed tried to come after us for “damages” because he said we had something to do with the pipe breaking. — Catherine MacLean


Whither The Woodbridge Village Center?

Where There's Smoke There's Fire (aka Rumors We've Heard)

This would be really sad news.  It’s been rumored online for at least six months, and when Kimberly Pierceall of the Orange County Register, who covers the Irvine beat, mentions it, you start to take notice.

My journalism days are long past me, but I did some obvious snooping and found out the true concept of where there’s smoke there’s fire…

Woodbridge308The Woodbridge Center currently shows no space available according to The Irvine Company website.  What about the former Mobil Gas Station site (does anyone remember that)? The Assi Supermarket/SteinMart/Pavillions anchor site?

Woodbridge308If it’s razed for houses, what becomes of Woodbridge, nee Irvine staples such as the Starplex Dollar Theatres, Ruby’s and Sticky FIngers? How many Irvine families had their children’s first haircuts at Rainbow Kids (we have six kids and at least three were there).

If houses replace the Center, does the walking path stay? How about Del Taco, which is a staple for the school kids (and frugal Taco Tuesday diners)?

The current tenants are listed below and here:

Aloha Mind Math (949) 484-9383

Avalon Medical Aesthetics (949) 654-4400

Bank of America (949) 451-5900

Barnes & Noble Booksellers (949) 857-0322

Beacon Bay Auto Wash (949) 857-8220

Champagne French Bakery Cafe (949) 653-6828

CorePower Yoga (949) 551-9642

Dancing Keys Music Studio (949) 734-3567

Del Taco (949) 551-8792

Dr. Linda Alimadadian, D.O. (949) 654-7946

Eye Contact Optometry & Orthokeratology Center (949) 857-2020

Global R/X Pharmacy (949) 552-3111

Irvine Kids, MD (866) 549-3873

Irvine Periodontics and Dental Implant Center (949) 654-4760

Irvine Yamaha Music Center (949) 559-5440

Jitterbugs Toys (949) 551-8697

Kumon Math & Reading Center (949) 651-1200

Lake Dental Center (949) 857-2828

Loomis, Robert R. DDS (949) 559-5110

Mission: Renaissance Fine Art Classes (949) 551-5883

Moutsatson, John Orthodontics D.D.S. (949) 551-2532

OSHER Life Long Learning Institute (949) 451-1403

Pacific Holistic Health Center (949) 653-1187

Pedego Electric Bikes (949) 274-7944

Rainbow Kids Hairstyling (949) 551-6691

Ruby’s Diner (949) 552-7829

SGT Dental (949) 857-8898

Signature Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics (949) 387-1404

Sticky Fingers (949) 651-1137

Talium (949) 654-4411

Tiny Teeth (949) 653-8469

Treuhaft’s Fine Jewelry (949) 552-1955

UCLA Health System Hematology (949) 653-2959

Vale Consulting, Ken Meddock-Principal (949) 451-1900

Westcliff Medical Laboratories (949) 552-1996

Western Federal Credit Union (877) 254-9328

Woodbridge Movies 5 (949) 733-3795

According to The Irvine Company:

“Woodbridge Village Center enjoys an excellent location within the “medical corridor” along Barranca Parkway overlooking Woodbridge North Lake. The center further enjoys high visibility and easy access from Barranca Parkway as well as from the pedestrian and bicycle paths located throughout the community and park behind the center. With more than 178,000 square feet, the renovated center features Assi Natural Market, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Woodbridge Movies 5,and Ruby’s Diner, along with Avalon Medical Aesthetics, Westcliff Medical Laboratories, Global R/X Pharmacy, and many other medical services.”

How do you feel about this? Comment below or via Twitter or Facebook – we’d love to know your thoughts.

DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill (@ Crossroads in Westpark)

Where To Dine In Irvine

Source: Mama Likes To Cook Blog by Valerie Mitchell

DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill - Irvine, California

Turkish & Mediterranean Grill
3800 Barranca Parkway
Irvine, California 92606

(949) 861-2626

DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill - Irvine, California

Yes. This food was absolutely delicious!

DonerG is a family owned fast casual restaurant that features foods from their Turkish culture and the neighboring countries. They use fresh, natural ingredients that are locally sourced. They take pride in their food using the ingredients and techniques that result in food that they are happy to serve and happy to eat themselves.

Tabbouleh at DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill - Irvine, California

As a vegetarian, Turkish and Mediterranean food is generally a very good choice for me. They do have meaty options, but also have plenty of protein rich foods without meat. I can get a balanced fresh meal that is satisfying and makes me feel good.

Shepherd's Salad at DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill - Irvine, California

The prices are very reasonable. You can order individual meals or eat family style, which is my favorite way to dine. I love being able to try a variety of foods while sharing a meal with friends or family.

The falafel and vegetarian dolma are really fresh and flavorful as is the homemade hummus and baba ganoush. It would be easy to make a meal out of an appetizer plate, but I’d recommend you continue and try out some of the other dishes as well.

DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill - Irvine, California

The salads are fresh and have authentic flavor. The rice is prepared slowly using traditional methods giving it great flavor and texture.

Kids meals are available with plenty of options that will make even picky eaters happy.

Kids' Meal at DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill - Irvine, California

The meat is slow roasted on a doner (vertical rotisserie) and cut to order. I’m told it was tender, juicy and full of flavor.

The staff was friendly and helpful. They really looked like they were having a good time even though they were obviously working very hard.

DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill - Irvine, California

Tables are available in the restaurant or you can order your food to go. There is plenty of parking available even on a busy Saturday afternoon. They can also do catering for events. Food can be delivered or picked up in the restaurant.

DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill - Irvine, California

My meal was fantastic and I’m looking forward to going back to DonerG. I’ll plan to order extras again, so that I can take home leftovers to enjoy later.

Baklava at DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill - Irvine, California

Our thoughts: Denise & I eat here often for the very fair prices, the above average portion sizes, the tasty food and bottom line, the ROI. Well worth the try.   Let us know your thoughts.

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Elmo Monster Munching

Mad Hungry Woman

Things We Like: Restaurants: California Fish Grill

Where To Dine In Irvine

Irvine's California Fish Grill

California Fish Grill, fresh seafood eatery takes pride in serving the best tasting, freshest fish, by selecting only the highest quality seafood, having fish delivered daily and only using pure vegetable oil. Come enjoy the warm atmosphere for which California Fish Grill is known, as well as its exceptional seafood.”

Their words, not mine. That said, they pretty much nailed it both in description and in taste at the California Fish Grill in Irvine. Located at the corner of Culver and Barranca in the Crossroads Center, California Fish Grill stands out from the crowd, and that’s a good thing, since the crowds at lunch can quite often leave lines significantly out the door. The draw? Fresh fish and fair portions at a price that doesn’t leave you feeling like you took the bait for a sucker deal. How fair? The entire menu has only two items that are over $10. At a seafood restaurant. Fresh seafood, not Long John Silver’s.

The menu has a little something for everyone.


RIB ca fish grill ahi tuna cajun style

Ahi Tuna Cajun Style (courtesy Yelp)

Charbroiled platters include White Roughy (I was told that’s the most popular), Salmon, Trout, Ahi Tuna (served medium or Cajun seared rare), Mahi Mahi, Catfish, Swordfish, Halibut and Giant Shrimp. All charbroiled items are topped with garlic butter source or served Cajun style (the way Denise and I prefer) and include rice or fries along with a small portion of coleslaw and bread.

Fried Fish Combo Plate (courtesy Yelp)

More of a fried fish fan? Deep fried frenzies await you then. Choices include Shrimp, Scallops, Catfish and Calamari.

Fan of Wahoo’s or Rubio’s? Get ready to change teams after trying their burritos or tacos. Cajun Mahi, Grilled Shrimp and for you landlocked types, Chicken Burrito wraps can tie you over. A personal favorite of ours are the Cajun Salmon Tacos. Other taco options include Battered Fish, Shrimp, Mahi and Chicken.

Salads are on the menu as well. Cajun Salmon, Seared Ahi Tuna, Asian Shrimp and Crab Salads are all very tempting and eye pleasing options offered.

Sides include fries and sweet potato fries, a pretty solid New England clam chowder and the highly recommended Grilled Zucchini.

The restaurant is a fast-casual concept. You walk in, place your order, take your number, fill your drinks and grab a seat (if you can, remember it’s very, very busy around the lunch hour). Drinks come with unlimited refills and there’s a salsa bar which features a couple of surprisingly strong offerings for a fish restaurant. Cocktail and tartar sauces along with lemons and cilantro are offered as well for taste.

When the restaurant originally opened in late 2005, it was the chain’s 3rd or 4th location. They now have 6 locations. While not exclusive to our area, it’s been a welcome addition and has not seen many (if any) lonely days since arriving. We highly recommend it and we look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback.


3988 Barranca Parkway #B
Irvine, California 92606
Phone: 949-654-3838
Fax: 949-654-3858

Mon. – Sun. 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Some other reviews of California Fish Grill:


Monster Munching:

Griffin Eats OC: