Can my landlord withhold my security deposit based on our water bill, if water was included in the cost of rent?

My landlord is basing this on a handwritten note that he added to his copy of the lease that says, “If the water bill exceeds $150 in 2 months, the tenet may have to pay a little more.” The original copy, signed by the landlord, the realtor, and both tenets, does not have this writing.

Asked on December 1, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First, under most leases and statutes in every state in this country, a security deposit's purpose is to reimburse the landlord for damages to the rental by the tenant upon move out.

If you did not sign the provision concerning payment of water bills then there is no obligation for you to pay the water bill. From what you have written, I suggest that you write the landlord about your position about you not being responsible for any water bill payment. Keep a copy of this letter for future need. Your landlord needs to return your security deposit.

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