Can landlord keep deposit for unpaid bills?
Yes , If you don’t reply to your landlord about a final utility bill within 30 days and you default it. The landlord have a right to deduct from your deposit. Or living in a rented condominium and failed to pay your final associate fee. And they can come and ask the owner for money owed. The owner can take any money owed from your deposit too.
It depends on the agreement. In agreement, if it is mention then he has the right to hold. If there is nothing mentioned in the agreement then he has the right to hold not your full deposit but part of it depending on your previous utility bills. If you think that the landlord is withholding your deposit to not give you then you don’t give him possession of the flat and ask your deposit in writing and vacate the premises once you get the money back otherwise it might be very difficult to get your deposit.
After you go through small claims, you will lose the deposit, have to pay the cost of the court fees and any interest that’s listed in the lease. Just pay what you owe and you won’t have that huge liability hanging over you. Landlords talk. You will have a harder time finding someone that will rent to you next time.
However, rent laws ussually vary from state to state so you better consult local lawyer before finalising anything.