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

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2011

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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


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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