Ask a Rental Agent: Can I Use My Security Deposit as Last Month’s Rent?

Ask a Rental Agent: Can I Use My Security Deposit as Last Month’s Rent?

Got a question about renting? Expert leasing agents at The Rental Girl address your concerns.

Question: I just gave my 30-day notice to my landlord and instructed him to deduct my last month’s rent from my deposit. My landlord is asking me to pay rent and refusing to take it out of my deposit. Do I have to pay?

The Rental Girl: Yes, you have to pay last month’s rent. You cannot use the deposit as last month’s rent. Security deposit disagreements are regulated by consumer affairs. For accounting purposes, deposits are not considered income. Though there is no government agency that oversees what a landlord does with your deposit once it is in his hands, technically the deposit is to be held in an interest-bearing account separate from the rental income account. The purpose of the deposit is to protect the landlord in the event there is damage, unpaid utilities, or unpaid rent. The distinction here is that the landlord can elect to use the deposit for unpaid rent, but not vice versa. If you do not pay your last month’s rent, your landlord can post a “3 day notice to cure or quit” and you may end up with an eviction on your record. 

“Ask a Rental Agent” is a series of helpful Q&A’s brought to you by the lovely real estate agents at The Rental Girl . The Rental Girl is a leasing agency with branches throughout Los Angeles. Each branch is operated by a unique agent who specializes in her area. All agents at The Rental Girl are California licensed Real Estate agents who specialize in helping renters and home buyers with all their real estate needs. Do you have a question you would like answered by an agent? Fill out the form below to submit a question to The Rental Girl:

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