Tenant want security deposit

26 Replies

Hello bp, My tenant is court ordered to be out the 30th of this month. She doesn't owe many any money however my lease says I can take lawyer fees from her security deposit. Her DCF worker calles me today and is putting pressure on me to give the security deposit sooner then the 30day window im allowed.. The dcf worker is telling me she needs it for her new place and a basic sob story. Any advice on what I should do? My lawyer says I have 30 days.. am I asking for more trouble by taking out lawyer fees? Thank you Ryan

In CA the law says 2 or 3 weeks after vacating.  I suggest you tell them they will get the deposit back provided the place is in the same condition as when moved in or a deduction of repairs may be deducted in accordance to your signed contract. 


I would stick to your lease and policies unless, of course, the law says otherwise. You're going to get a sob story pretty much every time. 

@Ryan Keenan I reinburse deposits after tentant vacate the property, returned keys, inspection completed and utilities have been cleared. It may take up to 2 weeks. Reinbursing their deposit now might change everything in a blink of an eye. Ask me how I learned that one. Javier

@Ryan Keenan , the fact that your tenant is being "court ordered" to move out is a sign that you don't need to do her/him any favors.  Tell the DCF worker to educate herself on landlord tenant law in Connecticut as it relates to security deposits and to not call you again.  And yes, retain your attorney fees from the security deposit.

Why are you even asking on here, your lawyer says you have 30 days. Don't listen to a sob story. Once she is out, change the locks, make sure the utilities are paid up, deduct any damages & lawyers fees you are owed, return the rest of her security deposit within the legally allotted time. This isn't that difficult an issue.

@Ryan Keenan You don’t need a lawyer, you stick to your contract and your state Tensnt and landlord policy, if tenant is breaking the contract then you win, if you are braking the contract tensnt wins, if tenant is moving out due to agreement, you keep the deposit as long as your state Policy say unless you have it in a difrent agreement in the lease. Deposit is to make sure the apparent is well maintained by tenant after they vacant the property.. unless there is another story and it’s not mentioned here. If your are not braking the law even if tenant went to court she will get nothing.
@Ryan Keenan I never understand the phrase, "putting pressure on" someone ... is he sitting on you? is he locking you in the bathroom? is he threatening to shoot your dog? is he talking your ear off? . I expect it's the last one, and far as I'm concerned, he can talk all he wants. Your lawyer says you can wait 30 days, wait 30 days.

@Steve B. My lease is written by the law firm that probably handles more eviction cases than anybody in the Phoenix area.  2 of the partners are judges.  If it's in that lease, I'm pretty sure it's enforceable.   

@Ryan Keenan Do your normal process. Take out necessary deductions (including legal fees). And get the remainder to her as quickly as you can. As long as you make sure that everything is done before you return the money, there is no reason to wait extra long to return the remainder of the money. You can wait until the last minute, but how is that helping you? When your process is complete, there is no reason to hold back the money longer. Let’s be decent people here.

Going to be hard to get someone out of the unit if they can't afford to move into the next one.... not saying pay give the deposit back BEFORE they exit, rather incentive to actually follow through with the court order.

Originally posted by @Matt K. :

Going to be hard to get someone out of the unit if they can't afford to move into the next one.... not saying pay give the deposit back BEFORE they exit, rather incentive to actually follow through with the court order.

 Seems like they want it before they move out or on the same day. I wanted to deduct the lawyers fee after they move.. is this a good idea or am I asking for trouble

Originally posted by @Ryan Keenan :
Originally posted by @Matt K.:

Going to be hard to get someone out of the unit if they can't afford to move into the next one.... not saying pay give the deposit back BEFORE they exit, rather incentive to actually follow through with the court order.

 Seems like they want it before they move out or on the same day. I wanted to deduct the lawyers fee after they move.. is this a good idea or am I asking for trouble

 Let me try to clear this up....

Can you deduct them, sure probably ask the lawyer..... but here's the thing. The tenant probably can A) drag this out a lot longer then it's worth and B) likely is judgment proof. They won't have the credit score, job, or assets to enforce any repayment judgment. You on the other hand stand to lose much more.

Tell them it's policy that you return the deposit minus allowable expenses (name em all of) with in the time frame allowed. Now, once they put "pressure" on you to do something different you know their motivation. With the right conversation I'm sure both parties could agree that upon successful check out, you hand over sec. deposit (cert. check). 

The point of this is, you get them out quicker and stop wasting time. The missed costs of attorney fees or utility bill is likely far less then the fight to get them out.... think of this as a modified cash for key.

CAUTION, do not start the conversation with the offer of giving it back in full right away. Rather, let them feel like they made a deal and worked you down from something else to that offer....

Do your homework on this one.  If there is a case worker, there is legal support behind them.  Best not to kick a sleeping dog and take your lawyer's advice.

Also keep in mind that many states require a landlord to provide a tenant with a statement justifying any expenses that were withheld - so considering you're dealing with somebody that probably has a very much victim mentality, I'd tread pretty lightly.

Originally posted by @Frank Wolter :
@Ryan Keenan aby damages?

 Not sure yet. She is still living there and already short on the rent for this month. But I do have lawyer costs. Dcf worker is pressing me for the security deposit 

If the lawyer is calling asking for the deposit it's because they are personally interested. The tenant is low on money and needs to pay the lawyer.  

Hold the deposit until after they move out. 

Originally posted by @Ryan Keenan :
Hello bp, My tenant is court ordered to be out the 30th of this month. She doesn't owe many any money however my lease says I can take lawyer fees from her security deposit. Her DCF worker calles me today and is putting pressure on me to give the security deposit sooner then the 30day window im allowed.. The dcf worker is telling me she needs it for her new place and a basic sob story. Any advice on what I should do? My lawyer says I have 30 days.. am I asking for more trouble by taking out lawyer fees? Thank you Ryan

 What did your lawyer say when you asked him or her this question?  The answer to this question varies by state and you already have someone at your disposal who will readily know the answer to your question.

Originally posted by @Clint E. :

If the lawyer is calling asking for the deposit it's because they are personally interested. The tenant is low on money and needs to pay the lawyer.  

Hold the deposit until after they move out. 

 A social worker called, not a laywer 

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