Can we keepa security deposit if tenants decide not take occupancy the night before they were supposed to move-in?

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Can we keepa security deposit if tenants decide not take occupancy the night before they were supposed to move-in?

We had a tenant sign a lease and pay the security deposit. During the walk-through they said they no longer wanted to live in the home due to dirty light fixtures and dusty window. The house was professionally cleaned, as well as carpets. The house is in great condition. Are they still responsible for the following months rent since they signed the lease and we are out this month’s rent? 

Asked on March 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You cannot keep the tenant's security deposit for damamges of the unit that he or she was to be moving into. The security deposit is for damages. However, you can keep the rental money that was placed for the tenant's occupancy of the unit that is not going to happen.

In the interim, I suggest that you try and start posting an ad to lease out the unit since this tenant that you are writing about has broken the agreement to move it. You have an obligation to mitgate your damages.

I suggest that you consult further with a landlord tenant attorney about your situation. If the lease was a month to month lease, then your damages would only be for a 30 day period.


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