Is it legal for a land lord to keep security deposits?

I purchased a pizzeria a while ago and agreed to finish the lease of the current tenent of the time, which was another 4 months, while agreeing to a 5 year lease after that. The land lord demanded a 00 deposit, which is almost 2 months rent, and wouldn’t relent on the issue. On top of that, the land lord, who is an ATTORNEY, refused to refund the previous owner’s security deposit until I satisfied the remainder of his lease. (the aforementioned 4 months) Thus, he is sitting on about 3 months of rent worth of deposits.

If I sell my pizzeria, the land lord will certainly want a security deposit from the new owner. My question is this :
Is it legal for the landlord to hold onto 3 tenents’ security deposits? Do I have a legal leg to stand on if I want to get it back? I would think that if he has the new tenant’s security deposit, he would have to refund mine.

If he wont give it back, should I sue? Does he have the right to keep mulitple deposits after getting new tenents?

5 Responses to “Is it legal for a land lord to keep security deposits?”

  1. Andrea A Says:

    yes, it is legal for a landlord to keep any security deposit until the end of the agreed upon lease. After the end date of the lease, the security deposits must be returned (minus any money he keeps for damages and such). So, if you were to sell, he could hold onto all three people’s money until the end of the original lease that was signed for each person.

  2. Courtney Says:

    I wouldn’t thing it is legal for him to hold onto all 3. The previous tenant before you should have gotten his back once you took over and then you should get yours back once you find a new owner to take over and you vacate. I would sue if I didn’t get my money back.

  3. Leonard C Says:

    Yes, it depends on the condition of the premises. If there is any damage to the premises, he may deduct the cost of repairs from the deposit. I don’t know what State you are in but, In California, the Landlord must return the security deposit (minus the cost of repairs, if any) within 21 days. The landlord being a lawyer, you may need to hire one yourself.

  4. david hinklin Says:

    he is if he feels you didnt live up to your lease or you didnt clean up the place before you left

  5. sheeba01 Says:

    The security deposit is to pay for any repairs due to damage while the renter is in the building.! If he has already leased to another person then there is no repairs to be done obviously.He sounds shady because He can hold the deposit money to fulfill the lease agreement but if he already has a new lease(you) why would he still hold the last persons money? He sounds shady and I would get my wants put in writing and have him sign it before I gave him any deposit.Look up Renters Rights to see the rules on Security Deposits!