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Can a Landlord use the Security Deposit to Recoup Rent That’s Owed to Him or Her?

A landlord may apply the security deposit to their actual lose from a tenant violating their rental agreement. The details for when a landlord can withhold a security deposit should be stated in the rental agreement.

There are a couple situations where a landlord may keep a tenant’s security deposit. The first is when there is an early termination of the lease. If a tenant breaks their lease, the landlord may keep part, or all, of the security deposit as stated in the lease and laws of the state you live in. If the lease includes an early termination clause than the tenant will have to abide by those terms.

Secondly, a landlord may keep the security deposit in the case of nonpayment of rent. When a tenant fails to pay rent, it is considered a breach of lease and the landlord is able to keep the security deposit to help soften the blow of the rent lost.

In addition, a landlord may be able to keep the security deposit to fix damage to the property that is beyond the normal wear and tear, which depends on how long you lived in the unit and what types of repairs are typical for that amount of time. Examples of damage would be large holes in the wall, huge stains on the carpet, broken doors or windows, and keys not returned at the end of tenancy.

Next, cleaning costs are another reason the landlord may be able to keep the security deposit. Landlords are expected to clean the unit before the next tenant moves in and if the cleaning that needs to be done is excessive then the landlord may keep the security deposit to use toward the cleaning fee.

Lastly, a landlord may be able to keep a tenant’s security deposit to pay for any utilities that the tenant neglected to pay even though they were required to pay them as a part of their lease.

These are some examples of situations where the landlord may be able to keep the tenants security deposit. Be sure to read your lease carefully and have everything explained to you so you know exactly what you are getting into so you aren’t caught of guard at any time.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help your wade through this process and determine a positive solution. Contact him at 866-200-4646.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.