Can my old landlord keep my deposit because he has yet to recieve the new tenants’ deposit?

UPDATED: Aug 2, 2011

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Can my old landlord keep my deposit because he has yet to recieve the new tenants’ deposit?

I signed a year long lease with my landlord that ended the month before last. My deposit was $900. Due to circumstances, in the last 2 months of the lease I needed to find new roommates, which I did. Those roommates decided to sign their own lease when I left and owed the landlord their own $900 deposit. These new tenants have not made good on their deposit yet and as they lived with me for the last 2 months of my lease, the landlord is blaming me and not returning my deposit until he gets theirs. Is that even legal?

Asked on August 2, 2011 Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your former landlord's retention of your $900.00 deposit is improper. You had your own agreement with the landlord completely different than the subsequent written agreement your former roommates entered into with him or her after you properly ended your lease.

Most states have laws requiring the return of the deposit within 21 to 30 days after the tenant vacates the rented property.

If full deposit is not returned in this time period, the landlord must send written notice for the reasons why and invoices/receipts for any debits.

If there is a local landlord-tenant clinic near you, you should consult with it regarding your options including a small claims court action. The former landlord's retention of your deposit is legally wrong.

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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