Can I claim my full security deposit back?

I did not sign a lease up to now (landlord did never ask me to). I’ve been renting the room for 10 month now and I already paid my rent for this month. My first payment included first month + last month + half a month security deposit. I told the landlord that I might move out mid-august or probably earlier. Now I want to move out at the end of next month. So I think I am covered for the month because of the initial payment. However, she wants me to pay full rent for the following monthor find someone to rent it for that month. If not she said, I won’t get my security deposit back.

Asked on June 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You must give 30 days notice before you move out because it looks like a tenancy at will and so therefore, your only time period for rental is monthly. You give 30 days notice and move out on the 31st day, she does not have any right to withhold your security. She can hold a portion of security for cleaning fees but that is it. If you have any issues with presenting her with this information, contacting your local consumer protection agency should help mediate this matter on your behalf.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, since you do not have a written lease with your landlord you are on a month-to-month lease. As such, all you need to do to end your lease is to give your landlord thirty (30) days written notice of the termination of your oral lease agreement.

Under the laws of all states, a security deposit is to cover for possible damage caused by the tenant to the rental. If you did not cause any damage to your rental, you should be entitled to receive the full return if it within 21 to 45 days after you have vacated the unit from your landlord.

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