What is the maximum security deposit that I can keep if my tenant breaks their lease?

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What is the maximum security deposit that I can keep if my tenant breaks their lease?

My tenant is leaving few months into a 1 eayr lease. They verbally informed me of such departure. I have been able to re-rent the place, starting the half month after he leaves. I have 2 months security deposit. Am I entitled to any money for the aggravation of dealing with a broken lease, time spent on re-renting the place, making and placing online ads, etc?

Asked on September 28, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Security deposits, generally, are not for broken leases but are for damage to an apartment made by a tenant over and above normal wear and tear.  So technically you can not keep any of it.  The tenant is, however, liable for the lease until its expiration so you did not have to let them out (that was nice of you) or re-rent the apartment (most states do not require that landlords do anything to mitigate their damages).  That was also nice of you.  You are definitely entitled to the half month of rent that you will lose.  As for the rest I would double check with an attorney in your area and BRING THE LEASE AGREEMENT which is binding on all the parties.  Good luck.


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