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

Answers:

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.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.