Reasons a landlord can keep the security deposit


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

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