Security Deposit Laws

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Security Deposit Laws

Are you new to the term Security Deposit? Or wondering what exactly is the concept and laws related to the term? Well, get your doubts resolved here through some quick FAQs.


What is a Security Deposit?

A landlord tenant security deposit, or damage deposit, is money, apart from the tenant’s first month’s rent that has to be paid to the landlord when the tenant moves in. The landlord holds this money as long as the tenant lives in the rented house. The return of security deposit is a must when the tenant moves out only if he/she has paid all his rent and utility bills and provided the tenant has not damaged the place.

A tenant security deposit is any money over and above the tenants first month’s rent.


What Can a Security Deposit Be Used For?

That’s a very basic question but worth asking. A rental security deposit acts as an insurance policy for the landlord. It helps: 

  • Pay the landlord if the tenant moves out owing rent or utilities, or:
  • Have damaged the rental unit beyond normal wear and tear. 

Who Does the Rent Security Deposit Belong To?


The rent security deposit belongs to the tenant. The landlord just holds the tenant’s money and is supposed to deposit the money in a financial institution, such as a bank or a credit union


In How Much Time Does the Landlord Have to Return the Rental Security Deposit?

These rules vary from state to state, but the general rule is that landlords must return the tenant security deposit within some specified amount of time, usually 14 to 30 days, after the tenant moves out.  Here are some examples of how long a landlord has to return a deposit: 

  • Illinois: 30 to 45 days depending on whether the tenant disputes deductions
  • California: 3 weeks
  • Florida: 15 to 60 days depending on whether the tenant disputes deductions
  • New York: Reasonable time
  • Texas: 30 days

Can a Landlord Deduct Money from My Rent Security Deposit?

Yes. The Landlords are allowed to make deductions from the tenant security deposit; however, that would make sense only for damages to the landlord’s property or other special circumstances.  Landlords are also usually required to provide itemized accounts for any deductions with payment of the balance of the deposit.


Security Deposit Laws

Covering the security deposit laws under one umbrella is indeed a difficult task as every state in the United States allows landlords to keep rent security deposit from a tenant, but differ largely in the rules for doing so. For example, in Michigan, a landlord cannot charge more than one and a half (1½) times the tenant’s monthly rent for a security deposit. So, for example, if the tenant pays $100.00 a month in rent, the landlord cannot ask for more than $150.00 as a deposit no matter what he/she calls the deposit money. If the landlord wants the last month’s rent plus a security deposit, it cannot come to more than one and a half (1½) times the monthly rent. On the other hand, California allows the landlords to ask for a maximum of two months’ rent if the apartment is unfurnished. If the apartment is furnished, he/she can ask the tenant for a maximum of three months’ rent as a security deposit.  

While there are certain security deposit rules that govern the state of California and Michigan, the city or county in which your rental property is located may have additional or different laws. Considering the diverse patterns in the security deposit laws across the world, ExpertsLand provides a single roof to which you can resort for any of your queries regarding the security deposit laws, no matter which part of the world you inhabit, and acquire legal advice from the crème de la crème of experts at ExpertsLand. Having been blessed with a brilliant hard-working team of experts, ExpertsLand dares to offer the service of n-number of follow up questions ensuring trust and customer satisfaction at every step. Expert advice at such a nominal price with minimal efforts had never been so stress-free. Register now and enter the world of experts and their sagacity.

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