Renters typically are required to pay a security deposit as part of the lease agreement. Usually, this amount is equal to one month's rent, but security deposit limits are established by state law. You typically pay this right before you move in.
The deposit is returned to the tenant upon the termination of the lease, minus any amount needed for repairs or other costs passed onto the landlord. Normal wear and tear on the rental property, such as carpet being slightly worn after a year, should not affect getting the deposit back.
The landlord's use of the security deposit is limited to the tenant's obligations and responsibilities as spelled out by the lease agreement. It can usually be used to cover unpaid rent.
Most state security deposit laws specify a time limit in which landlords must give a security deposit back to a departing tenant. For example, landlords have:
Other provisions of security deposit statutes may include walk-through inspections and escrow account requirements.
Below are the general categories of security deposit limits, and the states that adhere to each. Use this as a general resource. But, always check your state and local laws and your rental agreement for any modifications, as there are often exceptions to these general rules.
Exceptions can include:
Some security deposits are in interest-bearing accounts, so you can make a small profit if there is no damage to the rental unit.
If you have additional questions after reading this article and want to continue your research, the good news is that you can.
Click on the links below to learn more about security deposit-related matters:
As you can see, there are limits to the amount that a landlord can require as a security deposit. Renters can easily be unsure about the security deposit limits in your state or have other concerns regarding the lease agreement. KNow that you have the right to take your landlord to small claims court over real estate issues like this.
It may be a good idea to speak with a local landlord-tenant attorney. They will be able to answer your questions and make sure all of the lease terms comply with state laws.