We've rented a house in Florida for the past three and a half years. Always maintained a good and friendly relationship with the landlady and her family, but we never actually renewed the lease after the first two year stretch. So there is no written lease agreement at this point, just a verbal month to month.
She and her son in law advised us that they're selling the property and gave us a less than 3-months deadline.
We're buying a new home and closing ahead of their deadline.
They never advised us of where our security deposit is being held or what type of account.
They've never fixed anything since we've been here despite our requests. All repairs and upgrades have been done by us. Nothing but typical wear and tear in the house. Improvements we've made and the landlady has seen actually put the home in better shape than when we moved in.
Since there is no lease in place and they never told us where the deposit is held, can we instruct them to use the security deposit as the last month's rent?
No, the security deposit is not rent unless the lease specifies it as so. Since you have no lease, it is a security deposit to cover damage to the property when you move out. If she agrees to that arrangement, then it can be done by agreement, just get it in writing.
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I agree with my colleagues, no you can't; you must pay your rent when due or be subject to an eviction, and you will likely not get your deposit back (if at all) about a month AFTER you vacate. FYI, if I had a nickel for every tenant who has written me a paragraph just like the second to the last one in your post - only to have NO PART OF THE DEPOSIT returned, I'd be a rich man, sorry to say. If you are a month-to-month tenant, you are only entitled to 15 days notice (i.e., prior to end of the current monthly term), so them giving you a full 3 months is actually pretty generous, and you should be thanking them. If YOU want to leave earlier, however, you should be sure to send a 15 written notice prior to the end of the term.
Hope this helps.
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