My roommate moved out midway through the lease. The landlord created a rerental lease with me and a new roommate. No security deposit was returned, and no new security deposit was collected. The landlord still has the same security deposit in his possession. The old roommate is threatening to sue me for the security deposit back. Lease states the landlord doesn't have to pay it out until after the lease term ends (still months away). Do they have a case, or is that a claim that should be against the landlord?
Interesting case! The old roommate might try to assert a claim against you for unjust enrichment. Because, you are retaining a benefit, i.e., application of his funds toward the new security deposit for your lease. Especially if you advised the landlord to transfer the deposit. If the old lease expired, or was terminated, the old roommate certainly would have a claim against the Landlord. The Landlord should have returned the old security deposit and then accepted a new security deposit from you and your new roommate. He cannot simply transfer the old security deposit.
I'm not sure why the roommate thinks he has a claim against you, he may very well have one against the landlord.
The landlord should inspect for damage, and, if none, return the old deposit and take a new one from the current roommate.
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The claim is not against you as you do not have the money in your possession and the security deposit is used for damages to the unit or to be applied to unpaid rent. The Landlord could have resolved this issue cleanly when he signed a new lease by clarifying what happens to the security deposit.
It is important to know and a key piece of missing informaiton is who deposited the security deposit. If you deposited half and your old roomate deposited half, the simple thing would be for the new roommate to give half the security deposit to your old roomate and the old roommate assigns his rights to the security deposit being held by the landlord. This or other solutions should be done in the form of a written agreement.
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