Upon termination of a tenancy, property or money held by the landlord as security may be applied to the payment of accrued rent and any damages the landlord has suffered by the tenant's failure to maintain the dwelling.
Landlord Holds the Security Deposit in Trust:
A security deposit clause involves mutually dependent promises and is contractual in its character in that it involves the payment of money by the lessee in exchange for the promise of the return of the money by the lessor upon the happening of certain conditions. A landlord holds a tenant's security deposit in trust for the tenant. Return of the security deposit is a contractual obligation of the landlord, subject only to the landlord's right to offset damages to the property.
Pursuant to RIGL Section 34-18-19:
A landlord may only deduct 2 things from a tenant's security deposit:
The provisions of 34-18-19 may not be waived by agreement of the parties to the lease.
"Ordinary wear & tear" means deterioration of the premises which is the result of the tenant's normal nonabusive living and includes, but is not limited to, deterioration caused by the landlord's failure to prepare for expected conditions or by the landlord's failure to comply with his or her obligations.
"Security deposit" means a sum of money given by a tenant to a landlord at the outset of the tenancy or shortly thereafter, as a deposit against physical damages to the tenant's dwelling unit during said tenancy,
"Willful" means that the act was performed intentionally, knowingly and purposely, not accidentally or inadvertently and without justifiable excuse.