Can you use your security deposit as last month’s pay?

By Tenant

People do this all the time. But can you really? Well, that depends on a lot of things. There are some states like New Jersey that allows you to do that and there are also states like Texas that makes it illegal to do so.  Security Deposits are a certain amount of money usually the same amount as your one month’s pay that the landlord will withhold until you move out. It will cover any fee like cost for repairs unpaid bills, etc. when you leave. Usually, It will take 30 – 45 days after moving out that you can claim the amount minus any cost taken.

You will need to consider a few things before considering using your security deposit as last month’s pay:

  • Review your lease agreement. Normally, it includes a clause regarding this issue.
  • Do your own inspection and walkthrough beforehand. Check to see if there might be some needed repairs on your house/unit after you move out.
  • Ask your landlord directly. There is no step more direct other than asking him directly. “Hi, things haven’t gone so good for me lately. You know that I’m moving at the end of the month and the house is spotless. Is there a way that we can use my security deposit as last month’s pay?” Luckily, he will agree and you’re free.
  • In some states, the landlord is required to separate your security deposit in a different account and can only be withdrawn after the date specified in your agreement.
  • Keep in mind that if you do not pay your last month’s rent, He can serve you a 3 day pay or quit. It means that you have 3 days to pay or move out. And if you don’t He can sue you legally.
  • As is the law in most states, never withhold rent for anything. It will cause you a lot of problems afterwards. And this includes Last month’s pay.
  • It is your right to attend scheduled inspections after moving out so you know how much cost will be taken away from your deposit.

Edited on: Monday, March 4th, 2013 10:59 pm

15 Responses to “Can you use your security deposit as last month’s pay?”

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


March 4th, 2013 11:00 pm

You’re right. That’s not possible in Texas. It is illegal to do that here.


March 5th, 2013 9:20 am

Unless you have a clause in your agreement saying that you can do that, I’d suggest you don’t. You will get the same amount later on anyway, that is, provided your house is spotless and you won’t need any repairs.


March 5th, 2013 7:20 pm

What’s the point? You will get refunded later on anyway.


March 6th, 2013 5:20 am

Just go and ask the landlord.


March 6th, 2013 3:20 pm

Oh, Not a good idea. The deposit is used for fixing damages done during your stay and unpaid bills you left behind. You can get sued in court.


March 7th, 2013 1:40 am

I have actually done this. I asked the landlord straight out and after we did an inspection he agreed!


March 7th, 2013 11:40 am

There is no easy way of saying this, so I’ll just say it the way it is: pay what needs to be paid, and collect what needs to be collected. Don’t juggle everything around.


March 7th, 2013 9:40 pm

I’m a landlord and usually would agree to this after I inspect the house and find out that it’s all good.


March 8th, 2013 8:00 am

Smart move but can cause a lot of problems afterwards, make sure you put everything in writing so that you can use them in court.


March 8th, 2013 6:00 pm

Hello! I tried doing this with my past landlord and sadly he didn’t agree so I had to pay him the month’s rent. Got the deposit 30 days after though, it was a little short since he had to take away some of it to pay for carpet cleaning.


March 9th, 2013 4:20 am

I’d go with asking the landlord directly, Just explain to him your problem and I’m sure he’ll agree.


March 9th, 2013 2:40 pm

Nice Post! What other states is this considered illegal?


March 10th, 2013 12:40 am

You can search the internet for security deposit as last month’s pay law or something.


March 10th, 2013 10:40 am

Just be honest and tell your landlord about it


March 10th, 2013 9:00 pm

It’s not like your landlord will shoot you for asking. Man up!


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