What can a security deposit be used for?

We leased our home out for the past 2 years. The tenant is moving out. We have carpet damaged and grout damaged throughout the home. He is liable for this. Can we use the security deposit to make repairs?

Asked on January 14, 2013 under Real Estate Law, New Mexico


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can. A security deposit is an amount of money that is paid by a tenant and held by a landlord for the term of the lease. This deposit protects a landlord in case a tenant causes damage,etc. The amount of the deposit typically reflected in the lease (and the maximunm amount mat be regulated by state law).

If a landlord is keeping money from a security deposit, they must let the tenant know why and how much. Most states require that the notice be in writing and itemized.

Note: Normal wear and tear is not an acceptable reason for keeping/deducting from a security deposit.

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