(Closed) Need Advice, landlord trying to keep deposit

posted 7 years ago in Home
Post # 3
5977 posts
Bee Keeper

I think she can since you technically terminated the lease prior to the term being up. Check your state’s tenant laws and what your lease states. In PA, if a tenant terminates the lease early, they automatically forfiet their security deposit.

Post # 4
2192 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I agree that she most likely has every right to keep it. You are breaking your lease…it’s really up to her whether or not she decides to let you have it. 

Post # 5
9824 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

You broke your lease, there’s not much you can do. It’s the price you pay for opting out of continuing to rent before your time is up. That’s how landlords protect themselves financially and why lease agreements exist. Otherwise everyone would just pick up and leave when they felt like it.

Post # 7
3176 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

Did she maybe mean YOU had to find someone new? I know in college a friend of mine moved but had to find a tennant to replace her by herself. The landlord didn’t care who lived there, only that there would be someone living there and paying rent.

Post # 8
4419 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

Breaking your lease doesn’t automatically mean you lose your security deposit. Most leases have contingencies to protect the landlord and tenent. A contract that only protects the landlord, and not the tenent, is not a legal contract…meaning you cannot sign a contract that takes away rights that are provided to you by law. There are laws protecting the tenent in every state. Find out what they are.

Look at your lease. Is there anything in there about losing your deposit if the lease is broken? Are there any provisions for breaking the lease early? Is there anything in the lease about mitigating damages?

When I broke a lease a few years ago, the landlord tried to tell me that I would forfeit my security deposit based on their policies. Unfortunately, for them, their lease stated I wouldn’t lose my deposit as long as I gave them two months notice. They tried to say that didn’t matter, but a judge told them it did and they had to return my security deposit.

They also also tried to charge me rent for the three months after I moved out because they didn’t re-rent my apartment. However, there was a clause in the lease that required that they mitigate their damages, which meant that they were required to make every possible effort to re-rent the apartment and if they didn’t do so, they could not collect rent for the months after I moved out.  Well, the judge determined that they did not mitigate their damages, that they had had several tenents move into the building after I vacated, and they always rented out an apartment other than mine, so they were unable to collect the additional rent. 

They also tried to collect money for damages, but they had taken three months to send me a damage report. By the terms of their lease, they were required to assess the damage and send me a report within 30 days. The judge asked them why they took so long letting me know the damage (which by the way were all fabricated and not true), and they said their lawyer said it didn’t matter how long they took. The judge told them they got bad legal advice and said they could not collect on the damages. 

Here’s the kicker… I’m not the one who sued them, but the judge found in my favor 100%. 

So check your lease. Read it thoroughly, and go to a lawyer who will give you a free consultation to see if there is anything you can do. It’s really worth it to find out your rights.

Post # 9
2425 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

Yeah, she can totally keep the deposit.  Moving out 3 months early was not part of the deal…and that deposit was there to protect her against a situation like this if she couldn’t rent out the apartment when you moved out.

Post # 10
3461 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Loribeth offers good advice.  Most states require that they mitigate damages, but it’s unclear from your post if the landlord thinks you agreed to find someone based on your conversation.  However, it can be very time consuming to go through a lawsuit to get your money back.  A few tips:

Don’t cash a partial payment if you are still seeking a full payment of your deposit.  (I, like Loribeth, had a landlord try to keep some money for damages – things like my roommate leaving a box of shoes out for trash a day early – but he didn’t provide a detailed list until the 60 days were up which was required by law.)

Try to post on craigslist or online apartment sites and help on renting it.  Better to get it rented asap and figure out who owes what later.  Odds are that the summer is a better time for the landlord for the lease to be up than in October, because more people move in the summertime.

Post # 11
473 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Some apartment buildings require you to find another renter if you’re backing out early, but you’re still responsible for rent if they don’t pay. If it’s private, it’s different, but everything should be spelled out in the lease agreement.

We rent out a home and we had renters that signed a one-year agreement. They wanted to move out because his job moved to the other side of the city after living there for 5-6 months. It was dead of winter, and we stated we would try to find new renters, but they were still responsible for rent. They actually moved out, and we tried to find new renters but weren’t able to for 4 months. They had to pay the entire 4 months. If they didn’t, we would keep their deposit and also report them and potentially sue. It was all in the agreement up front.  Once we found new renters, they got out 2 months early and their deposit back.

Post # 12
7587 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2010

I think you lose your deposit, because you broke your lease, regardless of your verbal agreements. What does your lease agreement say about early termination? That would be what the “rules” are about your deposit.

Post # 15
7587 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2010


We will also require that we are able to find a new tenant that will have a move-in date of June 1st

EDIT: It keeps cutting me off. I think you might be stuck because of what she wrote. Did you try to help her rent the place with a craigslist ad or anything?

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