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Got housing questions? We've got answers from the Rental Girl.

Written by
Stephanie Morino

Being a renter or owner in L.A. is hard—and we're not just talking about financially—but Rental Girl founder Elizabeth McDonald knows how to succeed at both. Got questions? She’s got the answers. 

How often does my landlord have to paint the interior of my apartment, and who is responsible for costs? —Kate, Echo Park

Your landlord is responsible for making sure you’re in a safe home that’s free of lead-based paint. If the color isn’t your thing or is worn looking, you can live with it or see if the landlord will repaint or allow you to, but you might be stuck with some or even all of the cost. Word of advice: Protect yourself by getting authorized changes in writing. 

How can I get more garbage and recycling bins at my apartment? —Erin, Sherman Oaks

Contact the Bureau of SanitationWhether the cans were stolen or crushed, they will replace them for you. 

How long does a landlord have to give back a security deposit, and how much of it will I get back? —Stephanie, San Pedro

Landlords have three weeks from the time you turn in your keys to figure out what needs to be replaced and how much that will cost—all of which must be documented with a receipt or an estimate. If you feel they’re taking advantage or charging you for damages you know you didn’t make, you can submit a claim to the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs ( to be settled in small claims court. 

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