What to do if a tenant signed year lease but never moved in and is now requesting their deposit back?

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What to do if a tenant signed year lease but never moved in and is now requesting their deposit back?

I had tenants sign a year lease for a rental unit. They were supposed to move in the 15th but informed me that due to their son falling ill they would not be able to move until the following weekend. The Monday after that weekend passed, I received a phone call informing me that they decided to buy a house and want their deposit back. Is it within my rights to not only keep the deposit but hold them liable for the months the apartment is vacant I re-posted the apartment to rent the day after receiving the phone call?

Asked on March 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A lease agreement is a binding contract.  Technically they are obligated to pay rent until the contract term ends. Now, is the "deposit" a security deposit or the last months rent or what?  Massacheusetts law differs somewhat from other states.  Your lease agreeement should speak to the issue of a breach and technically they are in breach if they fail to pay the rent when due.  What you may want to do is come to an agreement with them rather than litigate the issue (which will eat up the deposit).  Good luck.


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