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Is the tenant entitled to return of the security deposit after breaching lease? Security Deposit

Discussion in 'Security Deposits' started by L314, Feb 27, 2020.

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  1. L314

    L314 Law Topic Starter New Member

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

    A tenant broke his lease by moving out almost a half of a year early on a year long lease. I thought that there may be some amount that I could withhold from his deposit for the work of vetting and signing a new tenant. All I could find with a web search was a page that said that the deposit could be withheld for breach of the lease in Pennsylvania. It was vague as to the type of breach and if it was the whole deposit or not. I did rerent the unit quickly and there was no loss of rent. So, can I withhold all, some, or any of the deposit for the time spent getting a new tenant?
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    What time spent getting a new tenant? You rerented the unit in enough time to not even have a loss of rent. It's pretty slimy to try to keep the deposit, even if your lease does allow for it.
     
  3. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    You need to return the deposit in full. The cost of vetting is a normal part of your business and not the tenants responsibility.

    Is there anything in your lease regarding breaking/breach the lease? If so please post what that portion states.
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Therefore no justification to hold the deposit... Unless maybe there were cleaning expenses, but you did not mention that.

    Either return it in full or deduct the amount you can prove was an expense in order to rent the apartment again.
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Tenants are much wiser these days, especially when it comes to the return of their security deposit.

    They read the applicable state statutes, and many will sue a landlord they believe has unlawfully withheld a dollar of their deposit.
     
  6. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    That we are!! And OP's tenant may have looked over their legal rights and know that if their SD is withheld without cause the tenant can sue for double their SD.

    OP should really read the LL/Tenant laws for PA.
     
    army judge likes this.
  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Even if you are entitled to some of it you still need to comply with the PA security deposit statute or risk being sued for double the deposit.

    Pennsylvania Security Deposit Law
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    In some states it is treble.
    In PA, it is double.


    The PA landlord must refund the security deposit less the cost of any repairs. If the landlord fails to do this, the tenant cannot be sued for any damages the landlord claims the tenant caused.

    If the landlord does not give the tenant a 30 day response, the tenant may sue for double the amount of the security deposit. In recover via a lawsuit double damages, the tenant must give the landlord written notice of his or her new address once the tenant has vacated the unit. See 68 P.S. §250.512.

    https://www.thelpa.com/PA_landlord_tenant_act.pdf


    Under 68 P.S. §250.512 (e), failure of the tenant to provide the landlord with his new address in writing upon termination of the lease or upon surrender and acceptance of the leasehold premises shall relieve the landlord from any liability under this section.


    If a landlord in Pennsylvania has not taken any deductions from the tenant's security deposit, the tenant has the right to have the deposit returned within 30 days of the move out date.

    If Deductions Have Been Taken: The landlord must still return the security deposit within 30 days of tenant move-out.

    Tenants have the right to have their security deposit stored in one of two ways in Pennsylvania. These options are:


    Escrow Account: The first option is for the landlord to place any security deposit that is greater than $100 into an escrow account. The bank or institution must be regulated by one of these four organizations:The account can be either an interest-bearing account or a non interest-bearing account.
    The Federal Reserve Board,
    The Federal Home Loan Bank Board,
    The Comptroller of the Currency, or
    The Pennsylvania Department of Banking.

    Guarantee Bond: The landlord's second option is to post a guarantee bond for the amount of the security deposit. This bond must be issued by a bonding company which is authorized to do business in the state of Pennsylvania.
    Interest Payment
    Tenants who begin their third year, or twenty-fifth month, of tenancy are entitled to receive the accrued interest on the account each year minus a one percent management fee that the landlord may deduct.

    Do Pennsylvania Tenants Have a Right to Notice After Receipt?
    Yes. After a landlord receives a tenant’s security deposit and places it into an escrow account, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing. This written notice must include:

    The Name of the Bank
    The Address of the Bank
    The Amount of Security Deposited

    For security deposits over $100, landlords in Pennsylvania must deposit the funds in a federally or state regulated banking institution and give the tenant the name and address of the bank and the amount of the deposit. Instead of placing deposits in a separate account, landlord may purchase a bond issued by a bonding company authorized to do business in the PA.

    Pennsylvania tenants who occupy a rental unit for two or more years are entitled to interest paid on the security deposit beginning on the 25th month of occupancy.

    The ONLY 3 Reasons a Pennsylvania Landlord Can Keep a Tenant's Security

    A landlord in Pennsylvania may be able to keep all or a portion of a tenant’s security deposit for the following reasons:

    1 = Damage in excess of normal wear and tear
    2 = Unpaid Rent
    3 = Breach of lease

    Failure of a tenant to provide the landlord with his or her forwarding address in writing upon lease termination or tenant move out will relieve the landlord from their liability to return the tenant’s security deposit.





    Pennsylvania Security Deposit Limits and Deadlines
     
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