using depost when rent is late

Let’s just say you own an investment property… If the tenant is a couple weeks late with the rent could you use their deposit to make your mortgage payment and evict?

The tenant’s rent is not linked to your mortgage payment in most leases. If they are late, you’d follow your state’s eviction process. In Texas, you’d have to post a 3-day notice to vacate and charge late fees per the lease. You’d then file for eviction at the courthouse, etc.

Here, deposits are due to the tenant even if they are evicted unless your lease states otherwise. You may want to read the book, simply titled “Landlording” and read your local landlord-tenant statutes to make sure you aren’t breaking the law in your area. is another good resource.

By the way, my tenants are never “a couple” weeks late. I start evictions on the 4th of the month. If you don’t follow your lease or local landlord process, a judge may be on the tenant’s side if you choose to go to civil court. In this case, the tenant can claim that you’ve set a standard where they can be late without immediate recourse. If you haven’t even provided the notice to vacate, you’re already behind on the process.

REI has links to state property codes here.

Deposits are to protect your investment against physical damage/slob factor…rent is rent. The two should never be confused or intertwined – by you or the tenant(s)…!

If they don’t pay the rent, start eviction proceedings IAW the state/city landlord/tenant laws…immediately.

If you do it once, you’ll do it twice…then they’ll leave with you property trashed and you won’t have the rent or a deposit!

My two cents…



As Dee and Keith said, you MUST know the laws in your state. However, my lease says that the security deposit is used to secure the tenant’s obligation under the lease. It can be used for damage, cleaning, unpaid rent, unpaid water bills, or anything else that the tenant was obligated to pay under the lease. I NEVER GIVE THE DEPOSIT BACK IF THE TENANT IS EVICTED - NEVER!