Q: Do I have to pay my last month’s rent if I gave a security deposit? I’ve heard that my security deposit can and should cover the last month’s rent, but my landlord disagrees and is asking me to pay for August.
A: Generally, the purpose of a tenant security deposit is to cover any damage to the property beyond “normal wear and tear” caused by the tenant, not to cover the last month’s rent.
In some jurisdictions, the tenant may incur penalties for applying the security deposit to the last month’s rent instead of paying it. However, that is not the case in the District. District law places the burden on the landlord to “clearly state in the lease or agreement or on the receipt for the deposit or other payment the terms and conditions under which the (security deposit) was made.”