Atlanta, GA asked in Consumer Law, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Tennessee

Q: Can a landlord utilize the security deposit of a tennant's in payment of utility bills in the state of Tennessee?

Although the lease stipulated that the renter (me) would pay for the electric utilities, at no time during the course of the lease (nor the five or so months following its end when I resided on the premises as a month-to-month (leaseless) tenenat) did the landlord broach the subject of the electric/utility bills? At the point of vacating the premises in mid June, the landlord returned the remainder of 1/2 of the month's rent less $100 which were required to clean it. As of today, there's been no sign of the security deposit. What are my rights, if any? Can the landlord claim that he is entitled to use the security deposit as payment for the utility usage? To date (around 6 weeks after leaving the apt.) no accounting of the utility usage/costs have been transmitted by the landlord. In the event, the law is on my/tenant's side wrt to the security deposit having to be returned, can the landlord then turn around and demand payment of the utilities?

1 Lawyer Answer
Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Brentwood, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Review the terms of your lease. That may contain the answer. Security deposits can be used for unpaid utilities subject to compliance with the lease and/or the Landlord Tenant Act.

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