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Property Management Blog

Using Security Deposit for the Rent

Using Security Deposit for the Rent

Your tenant is either behind on their rent, or they're coming up on their last month of their lease, and they want to use their security deposit to cover it. There’s only one acceptable answer to this request: NO!

Let’s look at each situation individually. The tenant is late on the rent, and they want to use their deposit to cover all or a portion of it. This is a horrible idea for the landlord. You have nothing to gain from this. You can already see that the tenant is in financial trouble because of his request, so if you allowed him to now use his deposit to cover the rent, it’s unlikely to completely resolve his financial difficulties, so he’ll just fall behind again next month or the month after, and now you don’t have any security deposit left to cover the court costs and attorneys’ fees to get him evicted. Your generous nature has now put you in a horrible situation.

Second situation, the tenant wants to use his deposit to cover the last month’s rent. Horrible idea for you as the landlord. If you allow this, then you now have no money to cover any damage that the tenant may cause to the property. Or worse, what if the tenant doesn’t actually vacate like he’s supposed to at the end of the lease? Now you’ve used his deposit to cover the rent, and you’re stuck filing an eviction to get rid of him because he won’t leave with no money to cover the costs.

The security deposit is for one purpose and one purpose only: the cover any costs that the tenant owes after vacating the property at the end of the lease. That’s it. It should never be used for anything else. Any smart landlord should have a zero-tolerance policy on this point.

Of course, if you hire us to manage your property, the security deposit will be held in our trust account and we can worry about all of this for you. Give us a call!