Is my security deposit gone if I back out of my lease?

Translate this page
Professionally dressed man ripping a contract in two

03/20/2014 | Author: Legal Staff

On March 6, my girlfriend and I executed a residential lease for a home and submitted a deposit. The lease's commencement date is April 1. We gave notice on March 17 that we won't be moving in on April 1 because my girlfriend's employer has moved her transfer date to Oct. 1. Are we entitled to receive the deposit money back because the lease hadn't actually started yet?

The only way to get your entire security deposit back is for you to find a replacement tenant who is satisfactory to the landlord and who moves in by April 1. If the landlord finds a replacement tenant with the same conditions, he can deduct from the security deposit either a sum agreed to in the lease as a cancellation fee or actual expenses incurred by the landlord in securing the replacement tenant. If a satisfactory replacement tenant is not secured and moved in to the dwelling by the lease's commencement date, the landlord is entitled to retain the security deposit pursuant to the lease agreement between the landlord and tenant. 

Have a question about buying, selling, or leasing property in Texas? Ask us. Not all submitted questions can be answered.

Categories: Renters
Tags: security deposit, residential lease, renters, landlords


JanetM. on 04/24/2014

Robin asks an interesting question. She doesn’t mention if she signed a ‘Hold on Property’ form when submitting the security deposit. this form is often made available by the landlord’s broker as part of the MLS listing. If not, I ask landlords to provide this form in exchange for the security deposit so that tenants can view the major terms of their lease agreement. The Hold form allows for a specific period of time during which the lease should be provided for signing. The new lease application form added a paragraph concerning Application Deposits.  I would suggest Robin send a formal written request to landlord’s broker asap requesting refund of the security deposit funds.  Brokers are usually very reasonable business people.

Anita Riendeau on 03/28/2014

When you received the lease and read it, if you were not satisfied with the terms, did you call the Landlord or Property Manager for explanation or negotiation of the terms?  They might have been “Open” to amending some of the terms before you cancelled the deal.  “you were told Security Deposit would be refunded if you did not like the House”; it does not say anything about “not liking the Lease” (that could be negotiated”.)

Robin on 03/27/2014

We made a $1300 deposit to hold a home and submitted a $150.00 application fee.  We received no receipt for the deposit and got the lease 8 days later on a Saturday.  After reading the lease we were not satisfied and decided not to sign the lease agreement.  I was verbally told I could get my deposit back if I did not want the house before I wired the deposit.  Am I legally deserving of my full deposit returned to me?

Leave a Comment

Read our commenting policy

advertise with us

Legal disclaimer

The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

Advice for Consumers

You sure you want the internet to solve your real estate problems?

How smart home features can make you safer

What’s the point of mortgage points?


More advice for consumers