Can I deduct the cost for new locksand labor a from tenant’s deposit since they refused to return the keys?

UPDATED: Sep 8, 2011

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Can I deduct the cost for new locksand labor a from tenant’s deposit since they refused to return the keys?

My old tenant moved out on the 31st and another moved in on the 1st so I personally changed the front and back door locks for security. I also have a wrought iron fence surrounding the property and they have the keys for all 3 locks as well. I now need to hire a locksmith to replace those locks too.

Asked on September 8, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to carefully read the written lease that you presumably had with your former tenant in that its terms control the obligations owed to you by the former tenant and vice versa concerning the rented unit in the absence of conflicting state law. If there is a provision concerning the return of keys at the end of the tenancy, that provision will control your situation most likely.

If the lease is silent about the return of keys by your former tenant and you were required to install new locks for the rented unit for safety reasons for the new tenant, then the old tenant is required to reimburse you for the time and expense for the locksmith to do what he or she did.

Had the keys been returned to you at move out which ordinarily occurs with a former tenant, the additional costs that you incurred would not have been necessary.

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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