A girl sublet a room in the unit that I rent, but broke her lease before moving in. I only have the deposits from her. Can I keep them?

I have rented this 2 bedroom unit myself so I am a tenant too but I am considered the landlord for this girl, since my landlord has allowed me to sublet one of the rooms, and have a roommate. So after searching for a tenant for that room for a long time, there were several applicants interested in the room, and I finally signed the lease with this girl (for 7 months). In the lease that we signed, I had indicated that I receive the first month rent from her on the start date of the lease, so I have only received her security/damage deposit and her pet deposit so far, and I gave her the keys to our unit (i know I should have asked for the first month rent in advance too, but that was my mistake and we signed the lease). However, although parking was not included in the contract with her, right after signing the contract she started insisting that she also needs to have the type of fob key that would allow her to use the parking as she wanted to rent a parking from another unit in our building, and also mentioned she may have guests that may want to use the visitor parking stalls. The fob key that I had initially given her could perfectly give her access to all common areas of the building, but one of its buttons needed to be fixed for opening the visitor parking garage area. So a day after that, a friend of mine said he can fix the fob key button, and my own landlords also said they can change that fob key with the one that they have which can also open the garage gates.


So I asked that girl to bring me back the fob key that I had given her to see if it can be exchanged or repaired, but she insisted that there that she only would like to have a new one, and not have the same fob key repaired. I told her that if that fob key would be repaired that can also work just as perfectly, but she did not accepted.

Update 2:

I had also mentioned to her that the dishwasher needed a small reset and I prefer not using the dishwasher very frequently as I don't use it myself at all, and a single person does not usually have that many dishes that would require using the dishwasher daily, but had also told her that it will definitely be repaired for the start of her lease to use.

Update 3:

So because of these two reasons, and although her lease has not event started yet, and I already have found her both a new fob key for her garage access and the dishwasher has also been services for her use, she now wants to break the lease just two weeks before her move-in date,

Update 4:

and is saying that since I failed to provide her with a fob key for her garage access and that the dishwasher also needed a repaired (though both these have been fixed now) she wants her deposits back to give me the keys, or and says otherwise she would claim in small claim courts against me.

Update 5:

So my question is do I have to pay her deposits back to get the keys, even though I have lost all my chances of having a roommate since I chose her over the other applicants, and I cannot pay the rent of the whole unit all by myself?

Update 6:

She says the security/damage deposit that she has given can only be used for the property damages if she had moved-in (and the damages if her pet had damages anything), and not for compensating the cost of the damage that she has caused me by breaking her lease before her move-in date (although I have to pay the whole rent of the unit by myself now, and I have not been able to find a new roommate). Can I keep her deposits for my next month rent?

7 Answers

  • Anonymous
    2 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I mean, it technically depends on where you live. Did she already agree and sign the sublease contract? In most places, if the person subleasing already agreed to move in and pay rent and things, and they do not pay rent (or do not even move in at all in this case), then you are able to keep the deposit only for the amount of the first month's rent. So you basically can keep the first month's rent and give any extra money back to her from the deposit. If there are any extra fees (like parking spot fees, cleaning fees, furniture she agreed to pay for, etc), then you can also deduct that from the deposit, but only for the amount they would pay in the first month or if they agreed to pay the entire amount up front in total in one payment (like if they agreed to pay for half the furniture or something).

    If she takes you to court or anything, just show them the messages you have with her showing that she did not allow you to repair the fob key. Or get a letter from the property manager saying that you had inquired earlier about getting a new fob key to show that you did in fact offer to replace it. The court will understand that a broken dishwasher (for only two people) is not a reason to break your sublease contract. You can also bring a letter or receipt from the handyman or manager (if they employ the handyman) saying that the dishwasher was fixed or planned on being fixed reasonably soon. But again, a dishwasher isn't a good enough reason to break a contract. Also make sure you let the court know that you spent a lot of time looking for someone to sublease (bring all your emails or text messages or an ad you posted and make sure they include the dates), and just let them know that 2 weeks was not enough time left to find a decent subletter.

  • 2 years ago

    State laws vary on return of security deposits. You didn't tell us what state you're in. However, as a general rule, unpaid rent is "damages", after termination of the lease, and the landlord (you) would simply send a pro forma invoice to the "tenant" stating the charges made against the refund of deposit. Send via certified mail, keeping a copy as "evidence", if you end up in court. She then has some statutory period in which to officially object.

  • 2 years ago

    Most of this has been asked & answered MANY MANY times!!!

    She has no legal grounds to break the lease without paying over parking or a dishwasher. You have already been told that she does not get the deposits back. She can try to sue you & she would likely lose. That is if you are telling the truth which at this point is questionable. When she loses the court can also order her to pay your court fees.

  • 2 years ago

    Totally depends on what your lease with her says. Does it mention you get to keep it if she breaks the lease? If so, yes. If not no. Security/damage is always addressed in a lease.

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    Keep the deposit, let her take you to court (though I doubt she will). The stuff you have said isn't valid for getting out of a lease. Possibly you can't keep the pet deposit though I think you can, and the rest of the deposit you should be able to keep. Judge may award you more money if you take her to court for breaking the lease.

  • 2 years ago

    there is a law, if you repeatedly ask on Yahoo answers even after being given decent answers, you must not only return her money, but must pay her double out of your own pocket.

    doesn't matter what you mentioned about the dishwasher,.unless you exclude it in a lease...as you were told.

    let her sue you, you did not need to give her access until move in day.

    as I told you before, I would return the pet deposit since the pet never moved in and caused wear and tear.

    security deposits can be used toward unpaid rent.

    AS YOU WERE TOLD, at minimum she was obligated to give you notice of termination of tenancy as per the lease or state law. if the lease didn't specify time frame, it reverts to state law..often 1 full month...so she owes for February.

    your lease should have included an early termination clause stating required noticed/costs...if it didn't, it also reverts to state law....

    typically you can charge rent until the unit is re rented.

    if she fails to return the key fob, I would with hold part of the pet deposit to pay for that.

    but AS YOU WERE TOLD, if is it electronic and can just be deactivated, you don't need to change locks, but if it can be used to get in still, you need to change the locks

  • 2 years ago

    Re-asking all your questions, doesn't change the answer

    A security deposit is for damage. If she hasn't moved in she & her pet did not cause damage. A holding deposit could have been withheld but you didn't get a holding deposit

    - Anyone who has watched a few episodes of Judge Judge or the People's Court, knows this.

    Since you had other candidates for roommates call them back to see if they are still interested.

    QUIT asking about "the keys". You need to change the locks. You do not want to worry about if she made copies of the keys or not.

    - of you mean the key fob that allows access to the common areas - tell her you will return the security deposit at the time you exchange the key fob.

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