Can my landlord keep my security deposit if I break the lease but pay the rest of the rent due?

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Can my landlord keep my security deposit if I break the lease but pay the rest of the rent due?

We bought a house 6 months in to a 1 year lease. The landlord has called the realtor we were dealing with and has said that my deposit will not be gave back. If I pay the rest of the 6 months rent, does he legally have to give it back to me?

Asked on August 1, 2011 Tennessee

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to read your written lease (assuming you have one) with your former landlord as to the renatl you had. Its terms and conditions unless in violation to your state's laws will typically control the duties owed between you and the landlord as to the issue of your security deposit.

You need to read your written lease to see what the "security deposit" was for. Meaning was it solely for "damages" during the lease and/or last month's rent. Can the security deposit be used to pay for unpaid rent? When is the security deposit required to be returned?

Since you left the rented unit with six months remaining on the lease, the landlord has an obligation to try and reduce his or her loss by renting your former rental to a third person for the balance of your tern. If a third person pays equal rent or more for the balance of your lease's term, the landlord essentially has no damages to complaint of.


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