Can a tenant use their security deposit to pay for rent?

UPDATED: Oct 8, 2011

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Can a tenant use their security deposit to pay for rent?

My tenant wants to use their security deposit to pay rent. Now I never did give them the location and Bank account of their security deposit, however they never made the full payments. when they moved in the made an initial payment then were making monthly payments towards the security deposit as well as their months rent. They never made the final payment so i never did disclosed this information with them. Also there was an added clause to the lease about payment of electric. I will make initial payment of $50 and if goes over they will have to pay the difference.

Asked on October 8, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not your tenants are allowed to use their security deposit to pay rent depends upon what is stated in the written lease agreement that you have with them assuming one exists. If so, you need to carefully read your lease agreement in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the tenants and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If you have a written lease, you need to review the provision if any regarding security deposits and what is stated.

In most states, the purpose of the security deposit is to pay for any damages by the tenant upon move out and it really is not for use to pay rent. With that said, I do not believe it is a wise idea to have a tenant's security deposit used to pay monthly rent.

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 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.

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