Context: Location: Colorado, USA
I was renting with a lease agreement but I needed to leave early and break the lease. The landlord withheld my security deposit and correctly notified me with an itemized list of reasons and associated costs. The single largest item is a "re-rental fee" (this was a 4 digit dollar amount).
Looking at Colorado law, the landlord can withhold some or all of the security deposit only for specific reasons including things like damage and:
"reasonable costs of re-renting, such as advertising"
I'm sure a "re-rental fee" is not a "cost" that they incurred. I helped them find their new tenants which moved in promptly so there was no advertising or outstanding rent. "Cleaning" is listed as a separate line item.
When tenants move out before the end of their lease term, they remain responsible for rent until the property is re-rented or until the lease has expired, unless they have another agreement with the landlord.
It would be a simple case since the property is re-rented, except my lease does include the "re-renting fee" in case of early termination.
Is this clause in the lease invalid because the law does not allow for any such withholding of the security deposit?
Where can I find similar legal cases which have already been resolved to show a precedent?
Can a lease specify reasons for withholding a security deposit beyond what the law lists as allowable.
The related text from the original lease agreement follows:
If the tenant moves out prior to the natural expiration of this Lease, a re-rent Levy of $[4-digit-number-redacted] will be charged to the Tenant.
Any provision, whether oral or written, in or pertaining to a rental agreement whereby any provision of this section for the benefit of a tenant or members of his household is waived shall be deemed to be against public policy and shall be void.
and 38-12-103 - (1):
Nothing in this section shall preclude the landlord from retaining the security deposit for nonpayment of rent, abandonment of the premises, or nonpayment of utility charges, repair work, or cleaning contracted for by the tenant
Reasons for withholding security deposits ... - Nonpayment of rent - Abandonment of premises - Nonpayment of utility charges - Nonpayment of repair work or cleaning contracted for by the tenant