Over the years I have heard landlords say that since a tenant did something wrong that they are going to take their deposit. It doesn’t work that way in California.
Security deposits may be used to offset expenses the tenant incurred such as unpaid rent or damage to the property. However, even if they have breached a part of the lease, you can only charge the cost to correct the breach and if the tenant disputes those charges then the landlord must be able to substantiate the charges or the landlord will likely be liable not only for the amount of the deposit but also for bad faith withholding, also referred to punitive damages.
Remember to keep it business and do not use charges to the deposit to try to punish your tenant. If you ever have a question on what to charge you can give me a call at American Heritage Properties.