Can my landlord keep my deposit?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years 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.

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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