Is my landlord obeying ohio law by not returning my security deposit?

My friend and I found a house to rent, and the landlord told us that it was a month-to-month lease. The rent was $700 per month, and the deposit was also $700. We signed a contract stating that a security deposit of $700 and first month’s rent of $700 were paid before moving in. My friend and I paid with separate checks that stipulated that our money was for half of the security deposit, and half of the first month’s rent.

Although my friend paid her half of the first month’s rent, she never ended up moving in. I paid the second month in full, and gave my landlord a 30 day notice telling him I would be moving out because my friend never ended up moving in.

Now, he is telling me he will only refund my half of the security deposit because I told him that she never moved in. He also told me that he had to fix two doors that were broken, and he would be taking this money out of my half alone before he refunds me, because she never moved in, so it is not her responsibility. He told me he discussed this with his attorney and that he “knows his rights”… but when I prompted him for the attorney’s name, he would not give it to me.

This sounds completely bogus to me, but I am not aware of the law… can you guys help me out? Or give me a resource to dig further into this? Thanks!

Posted in Landlord Tenant Law.


  1. Whether or not your friend moved in should not have an impact on the return of the security deposit although, if you each gave individual checks and each signed the lease the refund would be payable to both of you and you would have to work out the split with your friend.

    As far as damage, the landlord has the right to recover the cost to repair damages from the deposit.

    Here is one website that explains the rules:

  2. I do not know the rental laws of your state, but check your state/town for a Housing Rights Center or Legal Aid, he may be only giving you half of the deposit because you & your friend use two checks; she may have to ask for her half of the deposit in written & you should too.

    Your LL needs to give you copies of receipts for repairs of damages you made only if you have already moved out – but if you still live in the unit you can fix any damages first, then he would have to give you back all your deposit (1/2) to you.

    Check your state for a tenant law handbook to see if there is a check off list for a walk through before you move out.

  3. Assuming he intends to refund your roommate her half, then you’re not entitled to it. If he refunded you the entire portion, you’d still owe your friend $350. If you broke the doors, then of course that’s going to be paid from your portion of the security deposit. He does not have to give your his attorney’s information.

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