If you have a tenant who is about to move out they may say to use their security deposit for the final month’s rent. They might be moving out because they lost their job and need to move to a cheaper place. Or they might fear you will not return their deposit. Do you have to accept their request to set the final rent against their deposit?
A security deposit is there for your benefit as a landlord. It gives you protection against any damage your tenant may cause to the property. Returning it before the tenant moves out leaves you vulnerable should they cause any harm in their final days. So you should refuse and demand they pay their last month of rent.
How soon do you need to return a security deposit?
A tenant may need their deposit money to use it for a new place. As a landlord, you have 14 days to return the deposit. Within this time, you should provide your tenant with an itemized statement for any deductions you have made for damage.
What happens if I do not return the deposit within 14 days?
If you do not return the deposit and provide a list of any deductions within the two weeks, you lose your right to all of it. The tenant could take you to court to claim the entire amount back.
Do I have to pay interest on the deposit?
If the deposit accrued interest, you must pass this to the tenant.
If your tenant disputes your deposit deductions or refuses to pay the final rent, you may need legal help. Understanding the laws that govern landlord-tenant relationships is essential to protect your interests and avoid infringing on a tenant’s rights.