Can my landlord hold on to my security deposit if there was damage to the neighbor’s apartment caused by a water leak in ours?

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Can my landlord hold on to my security deposit if there was damage to the neighbor’s apartment caused by a water leak in ours?

I moved out of my apartment about 4 months ago. Water leaked from my apartment to the unit below us. The downstairs tenants decided to claim for their damage and their insurance company is paying for the damage. However, the landlord is holding back my security deposit as he thinks the insurance company might come after his insurance for claims. He has not provided me with any documentations on this issue at all and is refusing to release the security deposit.

Asked on November 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Good question. Whether or not your landlord can retain your security deposit for the unit you rented depends upon what the written lease states in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If the written lease makes no provision for damages to a unit other than the one you are renting, the landlord cannot contractually retain your security deposit. Good luck.


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