5 Reasons You Can Keep a Tenant's Security Deposit
(This article was taken from an excerpt of About.com)
A security deposit is a refundable deposit that a tenant pays to their landlord before they move into a property (See Also: The Basics of the Security Deposit). As long as a tenant abides by the terms of their lease, this deposit should be returned to a tenant when their lease has expired. There are certain situations where a landlord is allowed to keep all or part of a tenant’s security deposit
The 5 reasons why a landlord can withhold funds from the tenant's security deposit are as follows:
1. Early termination of the lease
If a tenant vacates the rental property before the end of the lease date it is considered an "early
termination of the lease". An early termination of the lease may be remedied by the landlord
withholding funds from the security deposit to 1.) Pay for the remaining unpaid portion of the
lease contract or 2.) Pay for the costs of re-renting the property and days of lost rents.
2. Non-payment of rent
Non-payment of rent is considered a breach of the lease contract. The landlord may take from
the security deposit any portion deemed necessary to fulfill the portion of unpaid rent.
3. Damage to the rental property
if a tenant causes damage to the property the landlord may take from the security deposit the
cost to repair or replace the damaged items. However, the landlord may not take the costs of
normal wear and tear. These wear and tear items are the responsibility of the landlord and
these items of normal wear must be assumed by the landlord.
A. Normal wear and tear - some examples of normal wear and tear problems are traffic
patterns in the carpet, sun fading of blinds, loose door knobs, dirty grout.
B. Damages by tenant - some examples of damages are holes punched in walls, cracked or
stained counter tops, stained carpets, broken towel bars, weeds in landscaping.
4. Cleaning costs
The Sate of Nevada provides for the security deposit deduction for "reasonable costs of
cleaning". If the tenant leaves the rental unit trashy and filthy the landlord may deduct
reasonable costs to clean the property. This includes hauling large amounts of trash and debris
and the general cleaning of the property. However if the landlord charges the tenant for
a complete "hospital cleaning" or an antiseptic cleaning the charge may be too excessive and
beyond the scope of "reasonable cleaning".
5. Money owed for utilities or homeowners association fines
If a tenant vacates a rental property and leaves unpaid utility bills or homeowners association
fines the landlord may deduct from the security deposit the amounts necessary to pay these bills.
For more information about Landlord/Tenant laws please refer to the Nevada Revised Statutes Section 118A