Should i deduct the legal fee used for mediation help to tenant owe the rent from the deposit at the tenant move out

Asked 11 months ago - Germantown, MD

I spent money to pay the legal service fee and get the rent, I would like to deduct the legal fee from the deposit that the tenant gave me when he move out. could I do this?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Brandy Ann Peeples

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Absolutely not. Even assuming your lease provides for prevailing party attorneys' fees, these are generally awarded in an instance of litigation. A security deposit can only be held for damages beyond normal wear and tear and unpaid rent. If you withhold a mediation fee as part of a security deposit-- which is not an attorney's fee -- then you could be liable for up to 3x that amount. Courts do not look kindly upon landlords who improperly withhold security deposits.

    If you have to sue the tenant for unpaid rent, and if you have a written lease that allows you to collect attorneys' fees, then claim them in any lawsuit you bring.

    DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided... more

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