Dallas, TX asked in Criminal Law, Civil Litigation, Small Claims and Landlord - Tenant for Texas

Q: Is this Blackmail/Extortion? Or do I need to pay?

When I moved in with my ex, she paid the first months rent and security deposit. We broke up and she moved out before our lease term was finished, and she was removed from the lease. It is now my current Fiance and I who are on the lease, but my Ex just contacted me saying that if I don’t pay her the full security deposit and first months rent, then she will assume legal action. To my understanding, because she broke the lease, she is not entitled to receive anything, and that right was forfeit. Even if she was able to receive the security deposit back, on what grounds should I have to pay back the FULL amount of the security deposit and first months rent. What she’s doing now feels a little bit like extortion/blackmail. What do I do?

1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Normally, when a tenant leaves with the consent of the landlord, the tenant is entitled to a refund of her security deposit, along with a statement and list of any itemized deductions, within thirty days of surrendering possession of the premises. Since she was removed from the lease and replaced with your current fiance, barring any damages to the premises during the time she occupied the premises, she should receive a full refund of her security deposit. Assuming she occupied the premises for a month, I don't see any basis for her to receive a refund of the first month's rent unless you had some sort of agreement with her pursuant to which you agreed that you would be responsible for rent and she was just loaning you the first month's rent.

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