Ask a Rental Agent: I’m Moving Out, But My Roommate is Staying. Can I Get My Deposit Back?

Ask a Rental Agent: I’m Moving Out, But My Roommate is Staying. Can I Get My Deposit Back?

Got a question about renting? Expert leasing agents at The Rental Girl address your concerns.

Question: I am moving out of my apartment and my roommate is staying. I’ve asked my landlord for my portion of the security deposit back but he is refusing to give it back to me. What is my recourse?

The Rental Girl:  The law requires landlords to refund security deposits within 21 days of the lease being terminated, all keys being turned in. You are not entitled to your portion of the security deposit back because your lease has not been terminated. The lease is considered terminated once all parties named “Tenant” on the lease have vacated the property with their possessions and the keys have been returned. Because your roommate is staying, the lease is still valid andlord does not have to refund your deposit.

However, roommate swaps happen all the time and there is a common accepted method in which to deal with this situation.  Let’s say the rent is $1,000, the security deposit is $1,000, and there are 2 roommates each paying $500/month and who each have contributed $500 towards the deposit. Generally, the roommate who is staying finds a replacement roommate/tenant. The replacement roommate/tenant pays $500 to the landlord for the next month’s rent and $500 security deposit to the departing tenant. The departing tenant is removed from the lease and the new roommate is added. When the new roommate and existing tenant both vacate the property, the deposit is returned and to be split between them.


“Ask a Rental Agent” is a series of helpful Q&A’s brought to you by the lovely real estate agents at The Rental Girl . The Rental Girl is a leasing agency with branches throughout Los Angeles. Each branch is operated by a unique agent who specializes in her area. All agents at The Rental Girl are California licensed Real Estate agents who specialize in helping renters and home buyers with all their real estate needs. Do you have a question you would like answered by an agent? Fill out the form below to submit a question to The Rental Girl:

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    1 Comment

    1. airbnb cleaning sydney - May 26, 2019

      Reading this post is very rewarding! Thank you so much for answering this kind of questions being encountered by some tenants out there. I’ve learned a lot!

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