Most lease agreements require new tenants to pay security at the beginning of the rental period. The security deposit is meant to replace or fix any damages or losses occasioned by the tenant.
The tenant has a right to their security deposit at the end of the lease agreement. However, there are instances when the landlord might legally withhold the security deposit. Here are some of these instances.
If the tenant causes extensive damage to the property
Any occupied property goes through the normal wear and tear. And this may not be the responsibility of the tenant. However, if the tenant causes substantial damage to the unit while occupying it, they will be required to make the necessary repairs. If they do not, then the landlord may make deductions from the security deposit for such repairs.
Substantial damages that may occasion deduction from security deposit include:
- Removed carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
- Broken doors, windows and holes in the walls
- Broken appliances due to negligence
If the tenant breaks the lease
A lease contract is a binding agreement between the landlord and the tenant. Breaching this agreement comes with its share of consequences, and one of these involves withholding the security deposit. This is especially true if the lease contract included a clause to this effect.
If the tenant has rent arrears
A landlord can withhold the security deposit if the tenant vacates the rented property with rent arrears or utility bills. Basically, the tenant has a duty to pay rent as stipulated in the lease agreement. If they fail to do so, the landlord may initiate the eviction process and recover applicable arrears from the security deposit.
There are a variety of reasons why the landlord may withhold the security deposit. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interest while handling the security deposit matter.