Reasons a landlord can keep the security deposit

By Tenant

What is a security deposit? It is a refundable deposit tenant gives the landlord before moving in into a rental property. The tenant must abide by the terms of the lease agreement if he wishes to get his security deposit back when he moves out or if the lease expires.  On the other hand there are also some situations wherein the landlord can keep all or part of the tenant’s security deposit.

Here are some the reason a landlord can keep the security deposit.

  • Termination of lease early. The landlord can keep all or part of the security deposit if the tenant decides to terminate his lease early to cover for the costs connected with the termination. Still this will depend on the lease agreement and the landlord tenant law on your state.  If a clause foe early termination is written on the lease agreement then the tenant must abide by the lease. The landlord can also charge the tenant court fees and attorney fees if ever he decided to pursue the matter in court.
  • Failure to pay rent. In most states landlords are allowed to keep all or a portion of the security deposit if a tenant fails to pay his monthly rent. Failure to pay is considered as breach of contract. Landlords are allowed to use the security deposit to cover for the monthly rent the tenant was unable to pay for.
  • Damage to property. If major damages are made to the property then the landlord can use again the security deposit to cover for the costs of repairs. The damages must be different than normal wear and tear.
  • Cleaning Costs. If excessive dirt is present on the apartment after the tenant moves out then the landlord can deduct any cleaning cost to the security deposit. Example of excessive dirt is too much trash all over the apartment, left-over foods in the refrigerator and personal belongings left behind.
  • Unpaid utility bills. Landlord can also keep the tenant’s security deposit to pay for any neglected utility bills if the tenant is responsible to pay for the utilities.

Edited on: Friday, March 22nd, 2013 1:33 am

15 Responses to “Reasons a landlord can keep the security deposit”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


March 22nd, 2013 1:40 am

Landlords should consult legal advice from a lawyer before making a lease agreement to be sure that he is protected according to the state laws.


March 22nd, 2013 11:40 am

Lease agreement works for both the landlord and the tenant.


March 22nd, 2013 9:40 pm

Check the local state laws for normal wear and tear.


March 23rd, 2013 7:40 am

If I evict my tenant for non-payment of rent do I still have to ask them to pay for the rent if I already have their security deposit?


March 23rd, 2013 6:00 pm

My landlord is asking for an additional fee on top of our security deposit


March 24th, 2013 4:00 am

What is the standard amount landlord should ask as security deposit?


March 24th, 2013 1:40 pm

Meaning if I break my lease early


March 24th, 2013 11:40 pm

If I terminate my lease early due to black mold


March 25th, 2013 9:20 am

I Agree! As a landlord we should be entitled to the security deposit once the tenant leaves. Its purpose is to cover for all repairs and cleaning needed to make the rental property liveable for the next occupant.


March 25th, 2013 7:40 pm

I hired a professional to clean the apartment before I moved out and the whole place is sparkling clean even the carpet


March 26th, 2013 5:40 am

How can I know the age of the carpet on the apartment before I move in?


March 26th, 2013 3:40 pm

If I signed the lease saying that my security fund is non-refundable? Can I still demand of having it back if the state law says I can have my security deposit back?


March 27th, 2013 1:40 am

Our pet caused damages to the interior of the apartment we rented


March 27th, 2013 12:00 pm

Document everything! Always put into writing every agreement you have with your landlord.


March 27th, 2013 10:00 pm

In a landlord’s point of view


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