Security Deposit When Only One Roommate Leaves

How do should you handle returning of the rental security deposit when some roommates will stay in the property, but others are moving out?

Security Deposit Return When Only One Roommate Leaves_

Scott’s question: How do we handle the security deposit if only one roommate is moving out, but the other roommates are staying?

We don’t. We leave it to the tenants to sort out. A lease is a contract and it’s financial obligation. Each roommate is being named on the lease is financially irresponsible. For one roommate to leave, that means that all parties: you the landlord or the property manager and the other roommates, have to agree to alter that document. So we send a document out to all the roommates where they agreed to allow the one roommate out of their financial obligation, and that letting them know that they’re assuming that individual’s financial obligation and then they can work the security deposit out for themselves.

It is kind of a tough situation for them because if they lived there for two years and they collectively have caused some damage to the unit and one roommate is moving out, if they’re not compensating for that damage, then they’re kind of stuck. Otherwise, it would logistically be a nightmare to you as a landlord to handle any other way. So we just leave it to the tenants, have a document allowing that tenant to sever – to get out the lease. I would get the new tenants in on that new lease or use that document as a supplemental document. And again, just let them work the security deposit out for themselves and just make sure that language is in the lease. Good luck!!!


Joe White

Joe White is a Philadelphia Property Manager and Real Estate Broker. He is the owner of Grow Property Management and has been involved in the management, sales and purchases of Philadelphia area rental investment properties since 2008. He is an author and works as a real estate investment consultant and construction manager.

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