There are multiple reasons why a landlord could decide to take away the security deposit:
- From the tenant breaking the lease early
- Moving out early without notice
- Having pet damage that was not paid for
- Damage caused by you or your roommates that was not fixe
- Removing furniture from a unit
Most of the time, landlords need to provide specific information on why the security deposit is being taken away. In some states, the laws are much more relaxed, making it so a landlord can get away with having nonexistent justifications for seizing a security deposit.
Understanding your lease is crucial! Read the fine print!
It’s equally important to completely understand tenant laws before signing a lease. Landlords, especially ones that cater to college students or other inexperienced renters, often assume the tenant is uneducated on their rights. Speak to your landlord about expectations that aren’t written in the contract or lease; it may minimize your chances of having your security deposit taken away because you will have a better understanding of what your landlord expects of you.
Document the property’s original condition!
As soon as you move in, figure out what is wrong with the place! Take pictures or notes and make sure to send them to your landlord, making sure to keep a copy. This can secure your credibility as a tenant if any existing damage arises that your landlord may want you to cover. It will help you prove what damage you caused and what damage was already there, so that they don't overcharge you.
Learning that your landlord is taking your security deposit can be a stressful time. Try to find a reason why and see if you can work out a compromise. If you feel that you did not cause the reasoning for the landlord taking your security deposit away, explain your reasoning in a calm and collected manner and provide proof.
Before moving into a home, make sure to read up on laws and learn about what you can do to make sure you are secured in your new house.
Learn about tenant laws here: https://www.american-apartment-owners-association.org/landlord-tenant-laws/