Security Deposit Hi, I am a landlord of a townhouse, and my tenant informed me…

Security Deposit
Hi, I am a landlord of a townhouse, and my tenant informed me that he needs to move out on May 16, 2006. His lease agreement is not up until August 1, 2006. Needless to say I do have a mortgage on this house and this will leave me in a financial bind, especially if I cannot find someone else to rent it. By law, do I have to return his security deposit to him since he is breaking his lease agreement? Thanks.

3 thoughts on “Security Deposit Hi, I am a landlord of a townhouse, and my tenant informed me…

  1. Re: Security Deposit
    First, it is very important to determine if you are covered by the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act. Although some Counties have different requirements (such as Fairfax), generally the question is do you rent at least 10 residential properties?

    Of course it is true that you must read the lease very carefully. The general legal rules can be changed by what you actually agreed to in the lease. Also pay close attention to whether the lease has changed to month to month by now.

    The tenant has an obligation to pay you through the end of the lease.

    However, you have an equal obligation to act in a commercially reasonable way. That means you must try to rent the real estate to a new tenant. You can charge the cost of advertising or other expenses to the breaching tenant.

    However, if you find another tenant, you can only charge the old tenant with your ACTUAL losses, reduced by the rent from the new tenant.

    If you cannot find a new tenant, then you can sue the old tenant for all of your losses.

    Assuming you follow the lease and give all of the notices required by the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act, you can apply the security deposit balance to any unpaid amounts.

    Jonathon Moseley
    Office of Jonathon Moseley
    1818 Library Street, Suite 500
    Reston, VA 20190

  2. Re: Security Deposit
    It is best to have an attorney review your lease agreement. If the term of the lease runs until August 1st, the tenant is obligated, given certain exceptions, to pay rent through July. Often, a security deposit may be applied for rent owed. Thus, one possibility is to have the tenant pay the full rent for May & June as required and keep the SD for July (assuming it is equal to one month’s rent and assuming no other damages for which the SD might apply). Also, this transaction might be subject to the Virginia Landlord/Tenant Act.

    Robert Strupp
    Robert J. Strupp,Attorney at Law, PLC
    2325 Dulles Corner Drive Suite 500
    Herndon, VA 20171

  3. Re: Security Deposit
    If the lease is under the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act(VRLTA), Sec. 55.248.15:1 of this Act clearly allows for the application of such security deposits to the payment of accrued rent as well as damages. The landlord, however,
    who exercises his or her right under this provision is required to send the former tenant an itemized list of exactly how the security deposit funds were applied, i.e., whether for back rent and/or damages and, if the latter, exactly what damages.)

    Michael E. Hendrickson
    Attorney & Counsellor at Law
    211 North Union Street Suite 100
    Alexandria, 22314

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