Is it legal for my landlord to keep my deposit for a fine on the property?

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Is it legal for my landlord to keep my deposit for a fine on the property?

There is a fine placed on the property because I did not renew my lease through the HOA. I renewed my lease with the property manager 9 months ago and 5 months later the owner contacted us threatening to kick us out and that we owe $1000 for not renewing with HOA. I spoke with HOA and they said it is the owners responsibility to pay because he let us stay there with an expired lease as far as HOA knows. He wants to keep the deposit because he had to pay the fine. Is this legal for him to keep the deposit?

Asked on June 26, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It is legal if the lease states (as many do) that if the landlord incurs any costs or has to pay any amounts due to the actions of the tenant, then the landlord may recover those amounts from the tenant and that such additional amounts are considered "additional rent." In this case, by lease, you agreed that the landlord can get reimbursed for the cost of any fines; and because the fines are considered "additional rent," the security deposit, which can be used for unpaid rent as well as for damage to the unit, may be debited for the fines.


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