When to Withhold Tenant Security Deposit

Asking for a security deposit is quite common in property dealings. The reason to ask for a security deposit is to have something that would help a property owner recover some of their financial losses occurred due to the negligence of a tenant. What it means is that a security deposit works to empower the landlord and is fair for both the landlord and tenant. Once the tenant decides to move in the rental space, the landlord takes a security deposit because it works as added insurance and an incentive for the tenant to not only live in the rental space but to also stay for the term of the tenancy after which the landlord can give the security deposit or parts of it back.

However, there are cases when landlords can withhold the security deposit; this right has been given to them by the law itself. When the law seeks to empower and aids the tenant it also works out to help the landlord who is letting the tenant to use a rental space. Some situations that need to be discussed are that a landlord can keep parts of the security deposit if the property is damaged. This is one of the biggest reasons that most landlords keep large chunks of the security deposit. The security deposit acts as the insurance and it also means that the tenant is solemnly vowing that he/she will keep the rental space exactly as the landlord would have kept it. Thereby when the damage is done and it is because of the renter, the tenants are liable to fix it themselves. Alternatively, when the final inspection takes place at the end of the tenancy period and the landlord finds the damage, they can withhold part of or the whole security deposit.

Another reason why some landlords keep the security deposit is because the tenant has not passed the final inspection and has also failed to do the up keep of the rental space. Living conditions are not as those when the landlord handed tenant the keys to the rental space; therefore, the landlord takes part of the whole security deposit. In some states, the landlord could just take the security deposit even when they believe that the tenant had failed to keep the place clean. It all depends on the lease agreement but what landlords and tenants should realize is that neither party should try to deceive the other.

Withholding the security deposit is something that could lead to both parties going to court if there is no rightful reason for it. If the landlord is trying to con the tenant or the tenant is trying to cheat the landlord, in both cases the courts usually make the right decision and the security deposit is usually either taken back or left with the landlord. Whatever the case is tenants should make sure that they keep up with all the agreements of the lease and until the term finishes, they should maintain the rental space otherwise the landlord is not only supported by the law but also by the fact that you will be accountable for the rental space.

What’s more, the tenant should be informed by the landlord that he/she is going to withhold the security deposit, and at the same time should mention the reason to take this step.
Posted on Jan 14, 2013


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