What to do about an illegal sublet and the return of a security deposit?

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What to do about an illegal sublet and the return of a security deposit?

The lease of my apartment does not allow me to sublet but I decided to sublet it during the summer. My subtenant gave me a security deposit of $200. As she was 15 days late on her payment of the second installment, I decided to withhold half of the security deposit, even though my sublease states that I will return the full deposit “provided there have been no damages either to the Premises or to the furniture”. She said she will speak to her lawyer. I don’t know if the subleasing agreement will be considered valid, or, if yes, whether I can hold the delay in payment against her.

Asked on August 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I suggest that you give back to the sub-leased tenant the half of the security deposit you withheld since your sublease does not allow you the right to offset rent owed with the security deposit. Just because your contract with the landlord does not allow you to sublet the unit, what you did was not illegal with your sub-lease. You simply broke a term of your contract with your landlord. Such breach is solely and issue between you and the landlord and not your sub-tenant.


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