Who is responsible for refunding a security deposit if one roommate puts in their 30 day notice?

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Who is responsible for refunding a security deposit if one roommate puts in their 30 day notice?

I recently put in my 30-day notice and my landlord told my roommate that if she finds a replacement roommate, that person is responsible for refunding my security deposit to me. Wouldn’t my roommate need to sign a new lease and need to pay the remainder of the deposit directly to the landlord?

Asked on April 23, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, do you have the right to put in a 30-day notice? You do if it is an oral or verbal lease (e.g. you a month-to-month tenant), or if it's a written lease that provides for 30 days notice. That effects the answer:

1) If you have the right to leave on 30-days notice, then the landlord must return your security deposit to you; you are lawsfully terminating your tenancy, and when tenancy is lawfully terminated, the landlord gives back the deposit, less any deductions for unpaid rent or damage. If the landlord  rerents the premises, a new tenant will pay her deposit to him.

2) If you don't have the right to leave on 30-days notice, then the landlord still needs to return your deposit--but since you breached the lease in this case, can deduct all amounts owed in rent for all remaining months under the written lease, which, as a practical matter, could mean you get nothing back and even still owe the landlord additional money.


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