They didn’t get their security deposits back. Geoffrey Palmer agrees to pay $12.5 million

landlord Geoffrey Palmer has agreed to pay $12.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing his company of withholding security deposits from more than 19,000 tenants when they moved out of his apartment complexes.

G.H. Palmer Associates, one of the largest landlords in Southern California, with more than 15,000 apartments in 23 Southern California complexes, withheld security deposits for years from thousands of tenants by charging repair and cleaning fees without properly notifying residents.

The $12.5-million proposed settlement includes a $10-million cash payment for security deposits that were withheld. In addition, GHP Management will release former tenants from $2.5 million in claims covering things such as painting or carpet cleaning when they moved out.

California civil code dictates that landlords must disclose all repair and cleaning charges, as well as provide tenants with bills and invoices. Court documents allege that the company failed to send those notices, and in some cases, duplicated invoices to make it seem as if more were delivered than actually were.