Myrtle Beach, SC asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Rhode Island

Q: My lease ended in Rhode Island however the landlord is selling the house and now I'm month to month until they decide.

Can I use the last month's rent from the lease to pay for the first month's rent of the month to month?

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1 Lawyer Answer

Kas DeCarvalho

Answered
  • Johnston, RI
  • Licensed in Rhode Island

A: The shortest, best answer is..."it depends on the terms of the Lease Agreement." But based on your question, I suggest that the answer is, "probably not." Let me clarify a few points, though: First, as you know, many State statutes permit landlords to charge both a "Security Deposit" and request that the last month's rent be paid in advance...and the rules for each of those tend to differ. Typically, Lease Agreements don't permit the Security Deposit to be used as a payment for the last month of the Lease term...because the purpose of the Security Deposit is to reimburse the Landlord for any damages (usually qualified as "normal damages" or "damages in the ordinary course" or "reasonable wear and tear excepted") to the property by the Tenant, after the Tenant vacates. So...the Tenant leaves, the Landlord checks out the apartment, reduces the Security Deposit by any amount required to reasonably pay for damages...and returns the balance to the ex-Tenant. In contrast, a "Last Month's Rent" is exactly what it sounds like: Payment for the last month of the term. What's unclear about your question is this: It's not possible for you to use the "Last Months' Rent" from the Lease Agreement to actually pay for the last month of the Term AND pay for the first month of the month-to-month term--That's would be one months' rent in exchange for two months' of occupying the apartment. Or perhaps the Landlord didn't actually apply the Last Month's Rent from the old Lease Agreement...in which case it should be returned to you in full, and yes, you can certainly use it to pay for the first post-Lease month of rent...or you can buy a years' supply of crayons, whatever...it's *your* money!

Neville Bedford agrees with this answer

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