Can a Landlord Keep Your Security Deposit to Pay for Any Rent Owed?

Keep Your Security Deposit Information at Tenants.comWhen tenants leave a rental property with back rental payments and property repairs, the landlord may have the option to use the tenant’s security deposit as payment for unpaid rent. But this money may not be used to cover last month’s rent unless the landlord agrees to this arrangement. So the answer is yes, the landlord may have the option to keep your security deposit to cover rent owed when you vacate the premises.

If you are a tenant and you are thinking of leaving your rental home, you are entitled to your rental deposit. Your landlord will list down any repairs that need to be made and these will be deducted to your rental deposit according to the provisions in your lease. Your landlord is also obligated to prepare your rental deposit disposition within the time period specified in your lease. That is why you should carefully inspect your lease at the beginning because this time period can vary.

To reduce trouble in claiming your rental security deposit when you move, you should remember the following:

  1. Pay your rent on time. But if you wish to leave apply your last months rent from your security deposit then talk to your landlord for more information. If your full security deposit is to be refunded, your landlord may refund the deposit on paper then apply the proceeds to your rent with your permission. Leave your latest contact information to your landlord; this should include your new address, cellphone number and mailing address.
  2. Go over repairs and any other deductions with your landlord. To avoid any misunderstanding, create a list and finalize all these deductions in writing. Have a witness countersign this list and ask when the rental deposit would be ready for pick up or deposit in your bank account. Take pictures of the final condition.
  3. Know the rules in rental deposit and how to claim it in your state or area. Different states have different rules about rental deposits, you should be aware of how this goes and how you will be able to keep your security deposit and  receive your rental deposits on time.
  4. If your landlord fails to provide your rental deposit on the designated date, you should call or contact him as soon as possible. If he refuses to talk or you find it hard to claim your rental deposit, you may settle this in a small claims court in your area. Consult an attorney that specializes in rental property ownership for more information.

Rental laws differ from one state to another and it is important that you know your rights as a tenant. You should also be aware of your rental contract and what is contained in your contract. If you have any questions or you would like to find out more about rental contracts and rental deposits, you could consult an attorney that specializes in rental law in your state.

If you are a landlord

Make sure that your lease contract is updated and well-constructed to help your tenants understand each clause and section. Before your tenant signs your contract, ask if he understands all the sections and if he has any questions pertaining to your contract.

Make sure that your tenants are well-screened and provide authentic and suitable personal and financial information. You must ask for references from your new tenants such as recommendations from previous landlords and a co-signer for your contract to protect your business.