The SECURITY DEPOSIT is often of the most problem both landlords and tenants have to deal with.
The security deposit laws vary by state.
Other RentLaw.com Security Deposit Topics include:
- Return of Security Deposit
- Interest on Security Deposit
- Summary of Security Deposit Law by State
- Carpet Damage
- Security Deposits for Housing Voucher / Section 8 Tenants
WHY DOES THE LANDLORD NEED A SECURITY DEPOSIT
To protect themselves for damages caused by the tenants.
To cover any unpaid rent. This includes late fees.
The security deposit is NOT for paying last month’s rent. The landlord will have the right to charge you a late fee UNLESS you notify them and they agree to accept the security deposit as your rent.
WE STRONGLY ADVISE our landlords not to do this. Of course each situation may vary. The security deposit is to be used for damages or unpaid rent when a tenant vacates the unit.
WHAT IF THE LANDLORD DOES NOT RETURN MY DEPOSIT
Again, state laws vary on the length of time the landlord has to return your security deposit.
Here are a some key points for the TENANT and their security deposit:
- Find your move-in / move-out checklist. If you do not have one, get our checklist here
- you must return the keys to the unit. The landlord, even though they must change the locks AFTER you move out, this can delay your return of money.
- you must give the landlord a forwarding address for them to send you your money and a statement of any monies that were withheld.
- you should do a walk-though with the landlord or their representative after you cleaned out your rental to protect your rights. Take pictures.
- if you had pets, we strongly suggest you have a cleaning service remove any smells. The landlord will charge you .
If you have or had a pet (horse, cat, dog, squirrel) living with you with or without or landlord’s knowledge, CLEAN UP. You will be held responsible.
NOTE: A pet deposit does not mean you can leave a mess. You will be charged a cleaning fee or damage fee for floors, carpets, walls etc that you or your pet companion made.