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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 19665
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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Here's my issue.the house is in Illinois and I live in state

Customer Question

Here's my issue.the house is in Illinois and I live in Washington state I had tenants inform me Aug 6 they were moving at the end of the month and the least was not due to expire until 10/31. The basement flooded in June and I had it cleaned within 3 days as well as offering the tenants an out to the lease.They declined. By the time the insurance company had been out it was 7/1. I then began getting estimates for carpet to be in stalled and I received a call that they wanted out of their lease early (approx 7/15). I told them if they pay August I will let
Them out with no return of the security deposit but they had to let me know by Monday (the end of the weekend) and i never heard from them. I received a text on 7/23 asking about the carpet because they planned to stay through the end of the lease. I lost the original order due to it being sold so I had to reorder the carpet. Tentative install was 8/9. I received a text 8/6 informing me they were moving at the end of the month. Am I obligated to return the security deposit? The only thing that needed to be done to repair the basement was new carpet installation. The old carpet was removed and professional wall mold and floor cleaners brought in. I think they broke the lease but given the flooding situation I worry they will try and say I wasn't fixing anything.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Regrettably, due to the flooding issue, you need to return their deposit to them. Otherwise, they would file lawsuit against you to force you to return it. The facts according to your post here: basement flooded in June, tentative installation date for new carpet 8/9--more than 30 days after the flooding, which they would most likely argue led them to terminate the lease early and therefore your are not entitled to retain their deposit for early termination of the lease because you broke the lease first by not replacing the carpet in a timely manner.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Eventhough they rejected to be let out early (I offered) and it was insurance and contractor reasons (to determine why it flooded) as to why it was not installed immediately? I also have a text where she stated they wanted to move in August. She did not want to leave when the house was truly unlivable.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

The text message would be helpful and the fact that the insurance and contractor reasons caused the delay would also be helpful. However, it is likely that you would be sued if you retain the Security Deposit. It would then be up to Court to decide whether the retention of the deposit is fair and reasonable or whether you should return it.