In TN, if a landlord had you pay first and last month’s rent then tries to turn thathe last month rent into a security deposit. Is that legal.

I first rented this house in August of 2015. At that time, I paid first and last month’s rent. In redoing the lease, I asked that the last month’s rent I had paid be put on the lease. The real estate agent handling this said it is counted as security deposit and put it on as security deposit. Can they do this?

Asked on January 5, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, it not legal: they cannot take money that you agreed to pay for one reason or purpose and turn it into something else. You paid the money pursuant to a certain agreement or understanding: it is illegal to go against that agreement or understanding without your consent. Of  course, if you have not previously paid a security deposit, they can require one now that the lease is being redone or renewed, so the easiest thing in that instance may be to let them take the money and make it security deposit, as an alternative to you having to provide a security deposit out of pocket.

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