One of the most common legal concerns in landlord-tenant matters involves the security deposit. Used as proof-of-intent for a tenant to move into a rental property, this sum of money is often given back to a tenant at the end of their lease. Yet, as a landlord, there are a few reasons why you might not return the deposit to your tenant.
3 Legal Reasons Not to Return Your Tenant’s Security Deposit
According to Texas law, you must return a tenant’s security deposit within 30 days after they move out. Yet, there are a few legal reasons why you may be entitled to keep some or all of the tenant’s security deposit.
Nonpayment of Rent
Should your tenant be unable to pay their rent, you’re entitled to keep a portion or all of the security deposit if needed to cover the lost rent. After all, the nonpayment of rent by a tenant is a breach of lease.
If a tenant causes damage to your property, you may be able to keep some or all of the security deposit. It’s important to know this doesn’t include normal wear and tear. For example, you shouldn’t expect to keep the deposit for small nail holes, a small carpet stain or a couple of dusty ceiling fans.
For damage such as mildewed carpet due to a large spill, broken windows and doors, or large holes in walls around the property, you may keep the security deposit to pay for the necessary repairs.
Normal cleaning costs are to be expected and are not a reason to keep your tenant’s security deposit. Yet, other situations, such as when a tenant leaves piles of trash behind, may require you to keep a part of the deposit to cover cleaning costs.
It’s important to note that you must give your tenant an itemized list of all deductions when you return their security deposit.
Considering Holding Onto Some or All of Your Tenant’s Security Deposit?
It’s a smart idea to speak with your lawyer whenever you think you might want to keep some or all of your tenant’s security deposit. As this is a highly contentious issue between landlords and tenants, knowing what your options are and aren’t before you make a decision could help save you trouble down the road.
To learn more about your rights or to speak with an attorney, give us a call at 972-450-1418 today.