Do I refund a roommate security deposit after they broke the lease agreement?

Lease was signed at the end of last month with a move-in date of the 10th. However, roommate changed mind earlier this month. Lease is 6 months. Roommate emailed letter requesting deposit refund. I agreed to refund deposit only if I find another roommate.

Asked on June 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the deposit given you by a person who was to be your roommate but backed out at the last minute was a true security deposit for possible damages to the rental during the period of occupancy, under the laws of all states you are required to return the security deposit to him or her as soon as possible.

The rationale is that the roommate never moved into the unit and presumably there is no damages to it at this time.

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