Do I get my security deposit back if I leave before the lease expires and my roommate decides to stay even thoughall the security is undermy name?

UPDATED: Aug 2, 2011

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Do I get my security deposit back if I leave before the lease expires and my roommate decides to stay even thoughall the security is undermy name?

I currently signed a lease with a roommate that ends in 8 months. The property manager is telling me that if I leave prior to the lease expiration and my roommate decides to stay, I would have to get my security deposit back from my roommate not the apartment complex. I just want to know if that is the law.

Asked on August 2, 2011 New Jersey


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to carefully read the written lease that you have with the landlord (assuming you have one) for the propertyyou are currently renting. Its terms typically govern the obligations of the tenant to the landlord and vice versa unless certain provisions violate the laws ofyour state.

Read the provision about the security deposit you placed. Most likely it states that you are to receive it back within so many days after vacating the rented unit when the lease's term expires. If you are leaving the unit before the end of the agreed upon term, most likely you are not entitled to it until the lease expires.

If your roommate is staying for the balance of the lease's term, you should ask for your deposit amount to be paid by him or her. From what you have written, the landlord is not obligated to return your security deposit at this point in time. 


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