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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Default Security Deposit Return After Breaking a Lease, But Paid Entire Rent Owed

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

    About two months ago, my girlfriend got a job offer in another state, which she accepted. At the time, we lived in an apartment complex with catered to students (we both graduated this past spring.) WE've never had problems with the landlord, but others have had less than stellar experiences, so I want to get all my ducks in a row before the 30 day security deposit comes up (which is Wednesday.)

    Our original lease went from the end of August, to the end of May. In the town we were in it was fairly standard for landlords to offer leases that were two semesters lengths, and then to offer additional three month leases, for anyone who wanted to stay the summer. We signed the lease before she had the job offer, and paid for the entire summers rents, as per the lease.

    However, we ended up having to move after a month. Her new job started July 1st, and she had a family wedding at the end of June, so we moved out early. We let the landlord know, and he said it wasn't a problem.

    My question is; where do we stand from a legal viewpoint, on getting our security deposit back? We left the apartment in better shape than when we moved in, and when we moved out, we were paid up for the entire length of the lease.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    1,023

    Default Re: Security Deposit-Broke Lease, but Paid Entire Rent Owed

    Since we cannot see the condition of the apartment, we have no idea if the landlord will keep any of your security deposit for damages above normal wear and tear. If I had a nickel for each time I read that a tenant left a place "in better shape than when they moved in" I'd have, well, a whole bunch of nickels.

    You wait until you get your information from the landlord regarding your security deposit and go from there. Hopefully you took pictures of the condition of the rental at move out should the landlord claim any damages that you dispute. You would use these as evidence to dispute such claims should this end up in a court over this matter.

    Gail

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    5

    Default Re: Security Deposit-Broke Lease, but Paid Entire Rent Owed

    Quote Quoting gail in georgia
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    Since we cannot see the condition of the apartment, we have no idea if the landlord will keep any of your security deposit for damages above normal wear and tear. If I had a nickel for each time I read that a tenant left a place "in better shape than when they moved in" I'd have, well, a whole bunch of nickels.

    You wait until you get your information from the landlord regarding your security deposit and go from there. Hopefully you took pictures of the condition of the rental at move out should the landlord claim any damages that you dispute. You would use these as evidence to dispute such claims should this end up in a court over this matter.

    Gail
    We did take pictures, both when we moved in, and when we left. We also made an extensive list of everything that wasn't in perfect shape when we moved it, as per the landlords request. Your post doesn't really address the issue I inquired about though; if we're vulnerable from a legal standpoint due to our early move out, even though all rent owed was paid in full.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: Security Deposit-Broke Lease, but Paid Entire Rent Owed

    Since the landlord has not suffered any financial losses from your early move out, there shouldn't be any question of NOT returning your security deposit unless there were damages above normal wear and tear to the rental unit.

    If, in fact, the landlord were to be able to re-rent this unit, they would owe you some of your rent money back.

    Gail

  5. #5
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Security Deposit-Broke Lease, but Paid Entire Rent Owed

    Quote Quoting gail in georgia
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    If, in fact, the landlord were to be able to re-rent this unit, they would owe you some of your rent money back.
    That's going to depend on the terms of the lease.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    5

    Default Re: Security Deposit-Broke Lease, but Paid Entire Rent Owed

    Quote Quoting gail in georgia
    View Post
    Since the landlord has not suffered any financial losses from your early move out, there shouldn't be any question of NOT returning your security deposit unless there were damages above normal wear and tear to the rental unit.

    If, in fact, the landlord were to be able to re-rent this unit, they would owe you some of your rent money back.

    Gail
    I've looked through the lease, and there isn't anything about re-renting in the event a tenant moves out early. Since its a place that's exclusively for students, I doubt they'd be able to find someone to rent it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sorry for the double post, but I just wanted to give an update.

    The thirty day limit was yesterday, however, one of the clauses of the lease states that: "If the tenant leaves the apartment/house prior to the end of the lease term, the time in which the landlords is required to return the security deposit remains the date of conclusion of the term."

    How legal is this? The PA LaTA of 1951 clearly says that:

    "Every landlord shall within thirty days of termination of a lease or upon surrender and acceptance of the leasehold premises, whichever first occurs, provide a tenant with a written list of any damages to the leasehold premises for which the landlord claims the tenant is liable."

    There's nothing in the Act that stipulates that a landlord can refuse to accept the rented premises." My understanding is that a lease can include provisions that are less restrictive that state law, but can't include revisions that are more strict. Nor can clauses be legally enforced if agreeing to them denies tenants state-given rights.

    Any help here?

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