The tenancy transaction is a relationship between the landlord and tenant where the landlord transfers certain rights and interests in the rental property to the tenant for monetary consideration in the form of rent. Rent is usually remitted by the tenant to the landlord on a monthly basis. However, landlords also ask for a security deposit to be given by the tenant at the beginning of a tenancy and this amount may be a significant amount.

State laws like the Maharashtra Rent Control Act have not fixed the quantum of the security deposit to be given by a tenant to a landlord and thus, the quantum decided by the landlord. For a landlord, the security deposit is important because it allows the landlord to adjust the amount of the deposits against any rental arrears or dues payable by the tenant.

It allows the landlord to secure the performance of the tenant’s promise in a tenancy transaction and is used to safeguard the former’s interests against the tenant’s default. However, after the end of the tenant period, the landlord has to return the deposit amount minus whatever sums were legitimately cut during the tenancy period. This article seeks to guide you on what you need to about the deposit given to your landlord during a tenancy transaction.

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When should I get my security deposit back?

When a landlord enters into a tenancy transaction with a tenant, the landlord takes a security deposit from the tenant to ensure the performance of the tenant in the transaction. It also serves the landlord to adjust amounts from the deposit against any rental arrears or dues accrued on part of the tenant.

  • Many times, the landlord may ask the tenant to deposit a month or two’s worth of rent as a security deposit.
  • Due to the lack of statutory provision fixing the quantum of the security deposit, the landlord decides the quantum of such a deposit.
  • However, due to the security deposit being a deposit by nature, it is mandatory that the landlord return this deposit to the tenant after the end of the tenancy period subject to there being no outstanding arrears or dues.
  • The deposit returned maybe minus the sum deducted by the landlord for legitimate reasons.
  • Thus, you need to take back the security deposit at the end of the tenancy period from the landlord.

Can I get my deposit back if I change my mind?

The landlord takes the security deposit from a tenant usually before the tenancy commences or on the day when the tenancy commences.

  • When the security deposit is given by the tenant and the keys to the rental property are given to the tenant, the tenancy is presumed to have commenced.
  • However, many a time, the tenant may have a change of heart and want to end the tenancy early.
  • Under these circumstances, the tenant may end the tenancy prematurely and is entitled to have his or her security deposit back.
  • The tenant may have incurred some dues during this short period of the tenancy which the tenant has to mandatorily pay off before getting back his or her deposit.
  • To make matters easy, the landlord may deduct whatever sum is due from the deposit and return the remaining amount to the tenant.

How do I get back the apartment deposit from the landlord?

When the tenancy comes to an end, the tenant is entitled to get his or her security deposit from the landlord. However, there may be some dues or arrears incurred by the tenant during the period of the tenancy.

  • The landlord is not compelled to immediately return the deposit on the end day of the tenancy. S/he can do so within a reasonable period of time, but it must be done promptly.
  • In the case of there being outstanding dues, the particular sum is deducted from the deposit and the remaining money is given back to the tenant.
  • In case of damages to the property caused by the tenant’s actions or omissions, then the cost of these damages can be deducted from the deposit.
  • However, the landlord cannot deduct the cost of damages from the deposit that were not caused by the tenant or for which the tenant was not responsible.
  • If the landlord refuses to give back the deposit to the tenant, this is a breach of the landlord’s obligation towards the tenant under the tenancy agreement.
  • In this case, the tenant has a cause of action against the landlord and can institute a civil suit against the landlord for recovering the amount of deposit from the landlord.
  • In the case of unjustified delay and the mental trauma caused to the tenant by such delay, the tenant can seek compensation from the landlord.
  • A tenant cannot take matters into his or her hands and compel the landlord to return the deposit money by force.
  • You need to approach the Civil Judge or Court to get the matter resolved in order to prevent the situation from escalating into a violent dispute.

Also remember, when you pay the rent deposit, make sure to get a receipt for such payment from the landlord and get the receipt made in duplicate. This is necessary for record purposes with one being there with the landlord and one with you. However, if the landlord does not give such a receipt, then make sure you have paid the deposit through your bank for generating bank invoices for such a transaction.


The rent deposit is given by the tenant to a landlord either a little before the period of tenancy commences or on the day of the commencement of the tenancy. This is an amount held by the landlord during the period of the tenancy to ensure the performance of the tenant in the tenancy transaction. The landlord can deduct legitimate expenses from the deposit and the cost of damages to the property caused by the tenant from the deposit amount. The deposit has to be mandatorily returned to the tenant at or after the end of the tenancy.

If this amount is not returned, the tenant can take legal action against the landlord. This action includes instituting a civil suit against the landlord for recovery of the deposit amount and can even seek compensation for any mental trauma caused by the unjustified actions of the landlord. The landlord’s not returning of the deposit amount is considered as a breach of the landlord’s obligation.