Can my landlord keep my deposit?

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Can my landlord keep my deposit?

I have an apartment of 8 months out of a 12 month lease. My job has moved me to another city. I’ve rented a house there to save on the long and sometimes very dangerous commute, as I travel down the I25 corridor with the construction that has seen now almost 400 deaths in 2019 so far. I informed my landlord of my intention to move and agreed to pay my rent until my lease ends, or until such a time as it is re-rented I sooner than the lease ends. My landlord informed me a day later that I would be forfeiting my security deposit. He has not once visited or entered the apartment since we rented it. There is no damage beyond wear and tear, no smoking in the apartment, and no rugs to be cleaned. Also, I deep scrubbed and cleaned entire place, so no maid service is needed. Additionally, I have caused no monetary damage as consequence of decision to move and I have paid all utilities and rent on time and continue until lease ends. Can he legally keep my deposit?

Asked on September 7, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The landlord may only keep your deposit to 1) pay for phyical damage; or 2) to cover any unpaid rent. If you keep paying your rent under the lease and there is no unpaid rent (or other amounts you were obligated to pay: e.g. if you had to pay utilities, but failed to do so) and also no damage, he has no legal grounds to keep your deposit and you could sue him for it, if he fails to return it. And if there was any damage or any unpaid rent or other charges, he can only keep an amount of the deposit equal to the cost to repair or the amount you owe.


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