Do I have to give the tenant their deposit back?

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Do I have to give the tenant their deposit back?

In the month of December I had a tenant sign a lease for 12 months. When she signed the lease she only paid 245/425 deposit. After this she never paid the remainder of the deposit. On February 11,2019 I had someone sign a lease for the same property and move in. Now the first occupant who signed the first 12 month lease is asking for her deposit back. Do I have to give her deposit back if she signed the lease and never paid rent?

Asked on February 25, 2019 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Once they sign the lease, they are obligated to pay the rent due under the lease; if they do not, their deposit may be used for their unpaid rent. Based on what you write, if she she signed a lease in December for 12 months and you re-rented the space on Feb. 11th, she would presumably have owed rent for at least the month of January and part of February (to the 10th); the rent for that period of time equals or exceeds $245, you may retain the money.


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