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If I broke my lease, can the owner keep my security deposit for mitigating charges?

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If I broke my lease, can the owner keep my security deposit for mitigating charges?

If he does keep it can he send me to court to recharge me? My lease was of 1 year and I was there for 3 months. I have no property or money in the bank. I’m worried of being sued 4 years down the line for mitigating charges.

Asked on June 20, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) Yes, the landlord may keep your security deposit and apply it against unpaid rent, if you left owing money and/or broke your lease early (since if you had a written lease for one year but left after three months, you would owe the lesser of 9 months more of rent, and/or rent until such time as the landlord can re-rent the premises).

2) If the security deposit does not cover the entire amount of rent you owe, the landlord may sue you for the balance, even years later.


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