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  1. #1

    Default Must a Landlord Return a Security Deposit if the Tenant is Behind in Rent

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Tennessee

    Am I obligated to return the security deposit to my tenant even though tenant was behind in rent moving out?

    Lease says "deposit will be returned within 30 days after the Tenant moves moved out, providing the property has been cleaned, there is no damage, and there are no outstanding bills"

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Must a Landlord Return a Security Deposit if the Tenant is Behind in Rent

    Without that clause you would normally be entitled to withhold a portion of the security deposit to cover rent owed. With that clause you've placed yourself in a position where you've contractually limited your own rights, and if your tenant objects you could find yourself arguing that the rent owed falls under the category of an "outstanding bill". If you're going to take that approach I suggest actually sending your tenant a bill for rent owed.

    I suggest having your lease vetted by a local real estate lawyer, such that you know the full extent to which you've limited your remedies and so that you can improve this (and perhaps other) language in the lease that is inartfully drafted.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Oklahoma
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    Default Re: Must a Landlord Return a Security Deposit if the Tenant is Behind in Rent

    I don't see the problem because you have the "outstanding bill" clause included. Rent is assumed to be due on the first day of the month unless your lease states otherwise. You don't need to send a notice for payment each month. Therefore, you can deduct the rent owed from the security deposit.

    TN66-28-201
    c) Rent shall be payable without demand at the time and place agreed upon by the parties. Notice is specifically waived upon the nonpayment of rent by the tenant only if such a waiver is provided for in a written rental agreement. Unless otherwise agreed, rent is payable at the dwelling unit and periodic rent is payable at the beginning of any term of one (1) month or less and otherwise in equal monthly installments at the beginning of each month. Upon agreement, rent shall be uniformly apportionable from day to day.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    CT & IL
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    Default Re: Must a Landlord Return a Security Deposit if the Tenant is Behind in Rent

    Recommend you write a letter to the tenant asking him if she/he wants the rent that is owed out of the deposit ... whats the renter going to say?? no? Make a bill notice and ask; if the renter says YES then the matter is resolved.

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