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This is a question about Double-Entry Bookkeeping. I am having a hard time correctly recording the fact that due to shared cleaning fees I owe the subleasee less than the deposit he gave me.

These are the actual events:

  1. I rented an apartment and put down $1000 in deposit.
  2. Then I sublet it, and received a $500 deposit.
  3. Then the lease ended and we got charged $200 in cleaning fees, which we agreed to split 50/50.
  4. I received $800 from the landlord
  5. I paid the subleasee $400.

How should I record this to reflect that my liability towards him decreased by the amount of the cleaning fees?

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I would work it something like this.

You pay the landlord the deposit:

Accounts:Checking             1000
Rental:Deposit          1000

Your subleasee pays you his deposit, which you track separately:

Accounts:Checking        500
Rental:Sublease:Deposit        500

Your landlord pays you back the deposit, less the cleaning fee:

Accounts:Checking        800
Rental:Cleaning          200
Rental:Deposit                1000    

You pay the subleasee his deposit back, less his share of the cleaning fee:

Accounts:Checking              400
Rental:Cleaning                100
Rental:Sublease:Deposit  500

Adding that up you should have the following balances:

Accounts:Checking             -100
Rental:Deposit                   0
Rental:Sublease:Deposit          0
Rental:Cleaning                100
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    Perfect, so what I was missing is that the $500 liability in Rental:Sublease:Deposit can be cancelled by taking $100 out of the expense account Rental:Cleaning. Thank you! This makes a lot of sense. – Charles Nov 4 '19 at 0:04

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