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security deposit for last months rent

My tenant of 2 years is moving out. She has been a model tenant. She recently suffered some financial challenges and wants her security deposit applied to last months rent. She sent me a check to cover the difference from my rent imcrease. I dont want to use security deposit for last months rent, I want her to pay it and wait until I decide how much to refund her. Can I find her at fault for not paying rent? (she has never been late in paying rent for the entire 2 years.)

If there is a written lease; that would determine the rule on this. in most states though, a security deposit usually is not acceptable for the tenant to use as last months rent. I am assuming though that if she is a model tenant, there probably are not damages to the rental unit. If I had a model tenant, I would work with her a bit. Maybe you can inspect the unit now to make sure that there are no damages. You can charge her a late charge and probably even take her to court for non-payment of rent. But by the time you go through all of that, she will be gone anyway.
I am not an attorney, but in Los Angeles, and probably the whole state, for the past 15 years, the security deposit cannot be used BY THE TENANT as last month's rent. Many tenants try to say their security deposit includes "last month's rent", however, the law is very clear on this point that the landlord/owner/manager is the one who determines how the security deposit is used, not the tenant. Check your lease language. Most leases state that the rent is to be paid "on or before" or "in advance of" the due date.  Your tenant is contractually bound to pay the rent when due.  However, you as the landlord/owner/manager determines whether to use the security deposit to pay for any unpaid rent, damages, etc. You can delineate that in your Security Deposit Itemization once the tenant moves out. K in CA
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