If I’m terminating my lease early but found a replacement tenant, can my landlord keep my security deposit?

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2012

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If I’m terminating my lease early but found a replacement tenant, can my landlord keep my security deposit?

I gave a 90 day notice. She said she would let me out of the lease if I found somebody who can take over my lease. So I found a lady, they ran her credit background and she is qualified. But now my landlord changed terms, saying that she is not going let me out of the lease until she keeps my deposit. Does she have any right not to return my deposit, if the other person going to sign a lease under her name and pay a deposit as well?

Asked on September 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Delaware


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The landlord could legally withhold from your deposit, if someone else is taking over ("assuming") the lease from you, for either of the following:

1) Any rent which you had failed to pay up to the date at which the new renter takes over; or

2) The cost to repair or replace any damage which you did to the premises as tenant.

Should should not have grounds to withhold part or all of the deposit except as above.

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