For the past seven years my husband and I have rented a beach house near San Clemente, Calif., for our family and extended family. When we were making plans for the fall of '91, other family members here in Salt Lake suggested we rent the units they had been using. Since they were going down in Aug. ('90), they said they would take the check for the deposit ($600 for two units) with them to ensure that we would get the days we wanted.

We received a receipt for our deposit with a highlighted area that referred to forfeiture of deposit if more people occupied the house than was contracted for. We did not know what the limit of people was so we wrote requesting that information. We received a contract that said 24 was the maximum number of people that could stay in the two units.Twenty-four was inadequate for our needs. We will have around 50 people going. We did not sign the contract but wrote the rental manager on Oct. 21, 1990, explaining that we needed units that could accommodate more people and asking for our deposit back.

The rental agency wrote a letter to us Feb. 4, explaining that another rental company now handled those units. I called the new rental agent. He said the deposit had been turned over to the property owners and that the two weeks we had rented the units had not been re-rented. When the units were re-rented our deposit would be returned, he said.

I feel our deposit should have been returned last October when we informed the rental agency that we had too many people for the units. - E.A., Salt Lake City.

You're in partial luck. We spoke to the new rental agent who said one of your units had just been rented so you will receive half your deposit back. You will receive the rest if and when the other unit is re-rented. "We expect to rent the other unit," he said. "She'll get the rest of her deposit back then."

Fifty people for two units does seem excessive, but then Southern Californians may not be used to having people stretch a dollar to sometimes ludicrous limits.

The rental agent claims 80 percent of the area's summer rentals is Utahns. We, therefore, decided there's no better place to advertise the unit than here.

One unit of a beach-front duplex on Capistrano Beach, (north of San Clemente) available Sept. 7 - 13, $1,800. Four bedrooms, three baths, fireplace. Limit of 12 people. If interested call Roberts Properties at (714) 498-5790.

A unit is also available Aug. 31-Sept. 7, at $1,850 per week and in June including the week of Jun 15-29 for $1,500 per week.

The first rental agent, by the way, thinks you simply changed your mind. When you called us you said you had rented four other units for less money.