Question about tenant and using security deposit for rent

4 Replies

Should you ever use security deposit for rent??!!???

- Tenant left the house at the end of the leasing term and ultimately owed me 250.00 in back rent and fees..

He is Now bugging me and Texting me for his security deposit of 800.00 back.

People are telling me, I should ultimately deduct the 250.00 and pay him the rest of the security deposit?

What would you do in this situation?

He owes you money and is demanding you repay the security deposit. Quality tenant. Deduct the money and provide a written statement itemizing everything you deducted. It's a win win situation....as in, you win, and he does not win. Win win.

Check your local laws for what can, and cannot be deducted. Also be sure to check the timeline for when it is to be returned ( usually withing 30 days of end of tenancy)


Generally yes you can deduct unpaid rent from the security deposit.

@Mary Mitchell brings up a good point. Most states are very strict about security deposits. If timelines are not met you could suffer triple damages.



The security deposit should never be used for any charge during tenancy. If the tenant breaks a window or fails to pay a charge, go after them for the money or evict. Do not use the deposit. You  have to protect those funds as an assurance the Tenant will abide by the lease.

After the tenant vacates and the lease is terminated, then the deposit can be applied to unpaid charges, repairs, and cleaning. Unpaid charges could include rent, utilities, late fees, penalties, or whatever.

It's very common for tenants to complain, whine, or even threaten to sue your pants off. Ignore it. Follow the law and your lease. In this case, the unpaid charges can be deducted from the deposit and then you refund the remainder according to your state law.

You should seriously educate yourself on Landlord-Tenant law. Security deposits are one of the most common reasons Landlords end up in court. If you fail to do it properly, your tenant could be awarded up to 3x the amount. In a place like D.C. the courts are more likely to slam a Landlord that doesn't know how to obey the law.

Check out "Every Landord's Legal Guide" by NOLO. Full of practical advice and it includes specific laws for every state regarding terminations, deposits, and more.

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