Can my landlord take my security depositover a grease fire that happened 5 months ago?

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Can my landlord take my security depositover a grease fire that happened 5 months ago?

There was no fire extinguisher, therefore fire was unable to be put out until police officer arrived. Our lease is up and I told landlord that we were moving out at the end of the month. They said we need to talk about the security deposit because of the fire. In my lease it states, “The tenant shall pay, on demand of the landlord, as additional rent, the cost of any maintenance, repairs or replacements for which tenant is responsible under this lease, which landlord incurs”. Can they say we have to pay 5 months later instead of when it happened?

Asked on February 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Landlords are not required to charge tenants for damage or repairs at the time of the occurence. They are entitled to wait until the end of the tenancy and take the cost out of the security deposit. That's what the security deposit is for, after all: to pay for repairs for damage for which the tenant is responsible (and to pay previously unpaid rent). The lease language you quote would give the landlord the right to seek the money earlier, but the landlord does not give up his right to take it out of the deposit by not asking for the money when the damage occured or repairs were made.


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