General Question

Msolala's avatar

Can the landlord keep the rent if the landlord asks the tenant to leave the premise.

Asked by Msolala (14points) February 11th, 2011

Just like the title says, can the landlord keep the safety deposit after the landlord asks the tenant to leave (Not an eviction but just a notice saying I would want you to leave).

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9 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

What are the terms of the lease agreement?

My initial answer is no, as the security deposit is your money, not the landlords. It is held as a guarantee that the property will be returned in satisfactory condition.

But, there are times where the deposit may be forfeited if the lease is violated in some manner – so more details are required.

Msolala's avatar

Thanks! Here is the detailed situation. My landlord sent me a note that she wants me to leave after I complained to her about her violation of the lease. She told me I can only use the dryer in my apartment 2 times a week and I told her I am not going to follow that because according to the lease I have to right to use the dryer provided by her in the apartment I live. Then she started to blame me for all kinds of “violation”, for example, she claimed that I scratched her car (we both parked in the drive way) while I didnt and her only reason was both of us have marks on our cars. My marks were there when I bought this car second hand so I know that she was just bullsh*ting..
Anyways, I told her what she was doing was illegal and I will seek legal help if she doesn’t stop violating the lease…Then she sent me a note saying she wants me to leave the premises..
I wanted to get out of the lease anyways since it’s been quite a pain in the butt dealing with her and I just don’t have time to go through the legal process…So I wanted to just move out, but I am worried that she’s going to keep the deposit.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

In my state NO, the deposit is for damages and is considered an escrow account not for the landlord’s use. If you have a rent control or housing authority they may be able to help.

I’ve rented in this state and when I left the landlord took 5 days to get me a check ( They apologized for taking so long )

iamthemob's avatar


Sounds like you have a fairly level head about the situation, and if you can leave and it’s easier based on the situation – more power to you.

Here’s the thing though – I guarantee you that if you simply agree to move out, there’s the ability for her to shadily accuse you of violating the lease for early termination, which may allow her to demand accelerated payment on the balance and keep the deposit (all depending on state law as well as the terms of the lease).

If you do want to move out, you should get a lease termination agreement that contains the fact that this is a no-fault termination. I would put something in there that states that your relinquishing the property and keys etc. is dependent upon you receiving the security deposit returned to you prior to that (just so there is no delays – the landlord doesn’t have to return the security deposit often for a month after a lease term, so there’s plenty of opportunity for her to delay on this). has a lot of great resources for laypeople on landlord/tenant law.

Msolala's avatar

Thanks so much! This is very helpful!

YARNLADY's avatar

There is a complete difference between rent and safety deposit. If your rental agreement is terminated by either party, the terms of the agreement dictate what money is to be returned.

iamthemob's avatar

@YARNLADY – I’m not sure if it’s as clear cut is that – security deposit procedures are generally covered under statute, and terms waiving them are often not valid.

YARNLADY's avatar

@iamthemob Good point. The issues could be taken to court for resolution.

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