A security deposit is an advance payment which a tenant makes to a landlord other than the rental amount. It protects the landlord in case a tenant breaks or violates the rental terms or agreement. This amount may help a landlord to recover unpaid rent, utility bills, and pay for fixtures and repairs of the house in case of any structural damages.
A landlord has the ability to retain the security deposit in several circumstances depending upon the state laws. In Illinois, these matters are dealt under Security Deposit Return Act in Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS). Here are a few general circumstances which may allow a landlord to keep the security deposit paid by the tenant to themselves.
Early Termination of the Contract
Early termination of the contract is when a tenant breaks the lease agreement before its completion, resulting in a loss for the landlord. The landlord will then have to find someone to fill the unit and cover the expenses of the maintenance and utility of the property, thus they may hold the security deposit back to cover early termination losses. Terms of the lease agreement can be crucial in such instances as it can either benefit or harm the tenant when they breach the terms of the contract.
Accrued Rental Payment
A landlord can also use the security deposit to cover any accrued rental payments from the tenant. This may include late payment fee and the amount due to be paid by the tenant. In some cases, a tenant breaches the contract during the initial period, say a couple of months since the inception of the agreement. Thus, the security deposit may not be sufficient to cover the undue amount and expenses that a tenant is liable to pay. Consequently, a landlord may initiate a legal action against the tenant by employing services of an experienced real estate lawyer.
Utility Bills and Damages
If a tenant has breached their lease terms and terminated the rental agreement prior to its completion date, it is likely that they may have left the utility bills unpaid along with the rent and other fees. The security deposit comes handy in such instances as it will help the landlord to cover such expenses. Moreover, it may also be used to pay for damages discovered after the tenant vacated the property. But again, if the damages are substantial and security deposit does not cover them, the landlord may file a lawsuit against the tenant by procuring services of a competent real estate lawyer.
The Final Take
A lease agreement is a binding contract between a landlord and a tenant, therefore, they owe a duty to fulfill their contractual obligations until the agreement period reaches its completion. Therefore, if a tenant breaches the terms of the contract, the landlord may use the security deposit to recoup their losses and may also pursue a legal course against the tenant and take them to court for recovering damages beyond the security deposit in hand by rendering services of a seasoned real estate lawyer.
For further information on security deposits or any issue related to real estate or to schedule a free consultation, contact Casement Law Group, P.C. today at (847) 888-9300 to speak with a real estate lawyer.