How do I make sure I get mysecurity deposit back?

UPDATED: Feb 19, 2012

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How do I make sure I get mysecurity deposit back?

My landlord put in our lease that he would have a 2nd bathroom put into our townhome. Now he says it’s impossible to do so but we have a signed agreement saying that would get done. He’s being very difficult about the situation and wants to sign us out of our lease. He also says he is refusing to give us back our $900 deposit. There are no damages done to the home its actually in better shape than when we moved in. I’m not exactly sure how to handle this situation in a legal matter.

Asked on February 19, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A landlord may only retain a security deposit to pay for 1) unpaid rent, which had been due and owing, or 2) for damages, beyond normal wear and tear, done by the tenant (or tenant's family, pets, guests) to the premises. Whatever amounts are not required to pay for 1) or 2) must be returned to the tenant; if the landlord will not return them, the tenant can sue for the security deposit's return, including potentially suing in small claims court, where the court fees are low and the tenant can act as his or her own attorney (no lawyer fees).

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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