When a tenant doesn't pay rent, he forfeits his security deposit (bond).

But what is it called from the landlord's side? Surely he isn't forfeiting the deposit.

What is the correct word?

The landlord was patient for three weeks, but ultimately had to ______________ the deposit.

P.S. I'm looking for the word used in AmE. Any others are welcome but please note which English your answer is in.

  • 2
    maybe 'seize', or 'keep'. – marcellothearcane Jul 16 '17 at 8:26
  • A deposit is not a fine, it is a collateral. The landlord may seize it to cover his expenses, but he doesn't gain ownership of it. There's no symmetry here. – michael.hor257k Jul 17 '17 at 7:59

You could use "claim".

The following is taken from the Consumer Affairs Victoria website:

When a tenancy ends the tenant may receive the whole bond, or only a part of it, if the landlord claims the money to cover any damages caused to the property.

This also aligns with what I was taught in Legal Studies. Note that the bond is the equivalent to your "security deposit".

Other Terms

I notice that the OP has since updated their question to specify that they would like American terms. I took it upon myself to search for "landlord security deposit" on the American version of Google, and found an American general-reference law site that had a page on security deposits.

Based on this page, these could be possible options. However, I'm not overly familiar with American law.

  • hold on to

Sometimes a security deposit is called a "damage deposit," and is generally some amount of money that the landlord is able to hold on to if a rental property needs any cleaning or repairs, in order to return the property to the condition it was in when the renter first moved in.

  • withhold
  • retain

[If a landlord does not return all of your security deposit, you may be able to sue.] This action, allowed by security deposit laws, is generally called a Wrongful Withholding of Security Deposit or a Wrongful Retention of Security Deposit lawsuit. If you do decide to take legal action, you may be able to recover all or some of your security deposit.

protected by tchrist Jul 17 '17 at 4:19

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