Can my landlord hold on to my security deposit if there was damage to the neighbor’s apartment caused by a water leak in ours?

I moved out of my apartment about 4 months ago. Water leaked from my apartment to the unit below us. The downstairs tenants decided to claim for their damage and their insurance company is paying for the damage. However, the landlord is holding back my security deposit as he thinks the insurance company might come after his insurance for claims. He has not provided me with any documentations on this issue at all and is refusing to release the security deposit.

Asked on November 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Good question. Whether or not your landlord can retain your security deposit for the unit you rented depends upon what the written lease states in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If the written lease makes no provision for damages to a unit other than the one you are renting, the landlord cannot contractually retain your security deposit. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.