When Can a Landlord Keep the Security Deposit

In an ideal situation, a landlord is supposed to refund the security deposit to the tenant once the latter has evacuated the property of the former. Many landlords refund the security deposit immediately while some do so in two weeks or three weeks from the date of vacating the property. There are many circumstances in which a landlord may decide not to refund the security deposit. Now, a landlord can only keep the security deposit if there is justified or reasonable ground. That ground or reason must be legally acceptable else the tenant may seek legal recourse to claim the deposit.

5 Reasons to Keeping a Security Deposit

Here are the circumstances when or reasons why a landlord can keep the security deposit.

1. If the tenant has not provided a written notice making the landlord aware in advance that the tenant would be moving out!

2. If the tenant has provided limited notice that is not in accordance with what the contract or the rental agreement says!

3. If the tenant hasn’t paid the last month rent or rents of several months, in which case the landlord may expect more payment than the security deposit.

4. If the tenant is in breach of a contract and has committed any offense that was specifically mentioned in the agreement or legally a crime.

5. If the tenant has caused some substantial damage to the property, then a landlord can claim damages. If the damages equal to the security deposit then no further payments are expected from a tenant. But in most cases, a tenant is required to pay more money in addition to the security deposit, if the damages are substantial.

Additional Information

These are the grounds which are common and based on them a landlord can keep the security deposit. However, a landlord needs to let the tenant know his or her fault and thereon declare why the security deposit is not being returned. While the lack of notice, any crime or not paying the last rent or few rents are obvious realities that can be easily proven, it is necessary for the tenant to acknowledge that the damages that a landlord claims were caused during the occupancy of the tenant. To prove this, it is always wise to conduct a physical inspection of the property before the tenant moves out so both the landlord and the tenant mutually agrees to the damages that have been caused.
Posted on Feb 05, 2014


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