Landlords will usually require some form of payment in advance, usually equal to first month’s rent when they enter into an agreement to rent. This payment which is usually called security deposit is held as security by the owner in the event the renter damages the apartment or fails to pay rent. Security deposits are generally refundable if contractual conditions are met.
A security deposit may be used by the landlord to recover payment for:
- Damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear.
- Accrued rent
- Cleaning of the unit
Renters are responsible for any damage they may have caused to the property beyond normal wear and tear. Differences in what should be considered damage vs. what should be considered normal wear and tear causes numerous conflicts between renters and landlords. If a real estate management company is hired to manage the property they will handle this negation for the property owner. When it comes to refunding the security deposit many states require that landlords provide a written itemized accounting of the deductions for unpaid rent, repairs, cleaning, etc. It varies state by state however most tenants should expect their security deposit to be refunded within 14-30 days after they move out of the property.
Security deposits for rental properties can be a sticky point when it comes to renting. Both the tenants and the landlord should work together to verify what should be considered damage and what should be considered normal wear and tear. This process can be a headache, however if both sides are willing to work together refunding a security deposit should be a smooth process.
*These laws may vary by state.