When can a landlord keep a security deposit?

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When can a landlord keep a security deposit?

The tenants broke the contract and left my house saying they’re moving to another state for work relocation. The contract is not up for another 6 months. They paid last month’s rent but didn’t pay me this month’s rent, which they were suppose to pay it on the 1st. I have collected 2 months rent as deposit since their credit was really bad. I’m renting a home myself and have a contract as well. I’m very stressed since I cannot afford to pay my mortgage plus the rent. I heard I have 30 days to return the deposit but I have some repairs to do. Can I keep the deposit? I have listed the house for rent.

Asked on June 4, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First, read the presumed written lease that you have with the tenants that vacated the rental. It controls what you can do and not do with the security deposit.

Ordinarily, one's security deposit as a tenant must be returned within so many days of move out after repairs needed to be done for damage caused by the tenants are stated in writing to the former tenants. In essence, the security deposit is to cover repairs needed to the unit for damages caused by the tenants.

You can keep the last month's rent and apply it to the following month of rent when due.


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