Breaking a Lease – Can Landlord Keep the Security Deposit

The landlord generally has the ability to retain the security deposit for a number of reasons that may include the breaking of a lease and when the person vacates the property before the lease completes. These rules and guidelines usually depend on the state and the circumstances of the unit or house when the tenant breaks the lease.

When the Landlord may Keep the Security Deposit

There are at least five situations where the landlord is able to keep the security deposit in general circumstances. The state-specific laws may increase or decrease these. Terminating the lease early is one of the situations that provides the landlord with access to the security deposit for a number of reasons. He or she may also keep these monies when rent is either late or not paid. Damage and cleaning costs may take funds from the deposit to cover the expenses. During the vacation of the tenant, any unpaid utilities that the landlord must cover come out of the security deposit amount.

Early Termination

Breaking the lease in any manner could result in a loss of security deposit, litigation or additional costs that the tenant owes the company or individual. The breach generally requires a transfer of funds because the landlord must cover the remaining time, time to find someone to fill the unit and the early termination fees that lease explains. Without notice or an understanding between landlord and tenant, the person breaking the lease usually must pay what the lease contract specifies for these situations. The specific wording of the lease will either harm or help the tenant when breaking the agreement.

Late or Unpaid Rent

In many cases where the tenant breaks his or her lease, he or she will also have unpaid rent or late payments accrue. In these situations, the landlord has the right to use the security deposit to cover the amounts the tenant does not pay. Early termination may also occur up to one month or longer before a single year or multiple year lease completes. Then, the individual living in the unit is responsible for the remainder of the rest for the rest of the lease or rental agreement period. These unpaid fees may add up to even more than the security deposit is able to cover.

Utilities and Bills

If the tenant ends his or her lease period early and terminates the rental contract, he or she may have utility and other bills accrue in addition to the unpaid rent and other fees. The security deposit may cover some of these while the tenant may need to pay the rest at a later date. When the security deposit amount does not cover the full unpaid fees, the landlord may need to take the person to court to ensure the full funds transfer to him or her based on specific circumstances. The total amount may increase if the landlord needs lawyer and court fees.
Damage to the Property

When the landlord checks the unit or house after the person breaks the lease and vacates, he or she may discover damage to the property. In these situations, the security deposit will pay for the damage, but many tenants destroy more of the unit than this deposit will cover. If the landlord is unable to pay for all damages through the deposit, he or she may attempt to contact the tenant for additional money to cover the costs. If this is not possible, he or she may attempt to file a claim against the tenant and take him or her to court.

Breaking the Lease

Breaking the lease generally lets the landlord take the deposit to recover from the breach of contract. The tenant owes a duty to remain part of the valid contractual obligations until the lease or rental agreement period ends. This is a binding responsibility of both tenant and landlord as per the signing of the lease or rental paperwork. When the landlord must clean, assess and repair the unit or house, he or she will need compensation to do so outside of the usual lease period. Then, it is important to fill the unit or property again with a new tenant, and this takes time.

Legal Help for the Lease Breach

If the tenant must break the lease for emergencies or other valid reasons, he or she may need a lawyer to progress through this situation and help against litigation or other related matters.

Provided by HG.org