Does a landlord have to return your pet deposit if your rental house is now not habitable?My rental house was messed up in a tornado a short time ago. I followed proper procedure and sent them a...

Does a landlord have to return your pet deposit if your rental house is now not habitable?

My rental house was messed up in a tornado a short time ago. I followed proper procedure and sent them a letter within the 14 days explaining that I had moved out. They returned my security deposit but then I called to question about the pet deposit. They said they could not return that because it is non-refunable. i still had 5 months left of the lease shouldn't they be required to return it. The area I lived in is now a fema disaster area.

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larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

A great deal depends upon the provisions of your lease. It is entirely possible that the lease agreement provided that any pet deposit was non-refundable. It that is indeed the case, your deposit is gone. If there were no such provision, and you would have been entitled to the return of your deposit at the end of the lease, then you should be able to receive it back. The termination of the lease by Act of God (that is the Tornado) frees you from any obligation to pay further rent, and obviously entitled you to the return of your security deposit. Your pet deposit is an entirely different matter. So you should examine the lease agreement very carefully to see what, if any provision was made for pet deposits and if the deposits were refundable or not at the time the lease was signed. Early termination of the lease--unless it was terminated almost immediately after its execution--would not be a factor.

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