INTEREST ON SECURITY DEPOSIT
When a tenant signs a lease, they are usually required to provide the landlord with a SECURITY DEPOSIT.
The SECURITY DEPOSIT is to ensure that when the tenant leaves (lease ends), the tenant has not caused damage above Normal Wear and Tear.
The security deposit may also be applied to unpaid rent and late charges.
Tenant may also be responsible for any other fees such as utilities and cleaning costs as they may have been stated in your lease.
The security deposit is NOT to be used to pay the last month’s rent, although many tenants elect to do so. If you do so WITHOUT the landlords permission, they may be entitled to charge you a late fee – which would come out of the security deposit.
SECURITY DEPOSIT INTEREST
Today, the interest rate earned on MOST security deposits is minimal (assuming you are not paying thousands in rent). The average interest rate in varies from year to year, may be set by state law or may not apply at all to your rental.
If you provide a security deposit to your landlord DO SO BY CHECK OR MONEY ORDER. Keep a copy for your records. Get a receipt!
Many states require the landlord to provide you a written statement (which may be in your lease) where your security deposit is held. Many states also require the landlord to credit you each year with the interest earned on your deposit.
THE SECURITY DEPOSIT CALCULATOR
Generally, interest on a security deposit is called SIMPLE INTEREST.
To calculate what you may have earned or have to return we use the simple interest formula:
Principal x Interest (for a full year)
Example of Calculating Security Deposit Interest FULL YEAR
Principal (the deposit) = $1,000
Interest = 1% which we change to .010
$1,000 * .01 = $10
Example of Calculating Security Deposit Interest PARTIAL YEAR
$1000 * .01/12 * 7 (or any number of months) =
ARE YOU ENTITLED TO INTEREST ON YOUR SECURITY DEPOSIT
Each state and many cities and towns may have special rules depending on a number of conditions. Some of them can make your head spin. Look at your STATE LAW to see if your unit qualifies and how your town, city or state rules impact you – either as the landlord or tenant.
Some examples that may or may not apply to you:
Owner Occupied, 1-4 units n/a – Short term rental
YOU SHOULD ALWAYS ASK FOR A RETURN OF THE SECURITY DEPOSIT in WRITING
In many states, you must send a DEMAND LETTER – which is simply a letter requesting your landlord return your security deposit. EVEN IF you do not have to in your state, you should do it anyway. Send it CERTIFIED MAIL.
ALWAYS PROVIDE YOUR NEW MAILING ADDRESS.
IF you fail to REQUEST YOUR SECURITY DEPOSIT be retuned, you may forfeit your right to it. Look at your STATE LAW.
ALWAYS DEPOSIT YOUR TENANTS SECURITY DEPOSIT
Be smart. ALWAYS deposit YOUR TENANTS SECURITY DEPOSIT (it’s the tenant’s money until they move out) in an INTEREST BEARING ACCOUNT and NOT IN YOUR OWN PERSONAL OR BUSINESS ACCOUNT. Go to the bank and ask to open a LANDLORD TENANT ACCOUNT. Smaller landlords will have separate accounts. Larger landlords MIGHT have one overall security deposit account.
LANDLORDS – IMPORTANT READ
The LANDLORD who fails to deposit the security deposit correctly may lose their rights to evict a tenant, get to charge the tenant for damages and may be held liable for the security deposit, a penalty and more.