How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
A new question is answered every 9 seconds
Ask a Real Estate Law question
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
characters left:
Real Estate Lawyers are Online Now

Security Deposit Law

Rental properties abound in the United States and everyday somewhere someone is looking into leasing something. When a person is preparing to enter into a lease there is usually a security deposit that is included. What is the security deposit for? What does it cover? How does a person recover their security deposit? What are the laws pertaining to security deposits? Below are questions like these and others that pertain to security deposit law that have been answered by the Experts.

What is a security deposit?

A security deposit, which may also be known as a damage deposit, is an amount of money that a person pays for a rented item such as an apartment or house, which is made to ensure the person that is leasing the property that it will be returned in good shape. If the item or place is returned to the owner in good shape with no damage beyond that of normal wear and tear then the security deposit is returned back to the person renting the item or property. If there is damage above and beyond that of normal wear and tear, then the cost of the repairs made for the damage will be deducted from the security deposit or the security deposit may not be returned.

What are items that a landlord may deduct from a security deposit?

A landlord is only able to deduct any cost of repairs for damage caused by the tenant above and beyond normal wear and tear. They are also able to deduct unpaid rent from the security deposit. These are the only things that a landlord may deduct from a security deposit. If the landlord is making a deduction from the security deposit for damage repair, they must provided an itemized list of deductions and the former tenant may request proof of such repairs.

What venue does a tenant have when landlord refuses to return security deposit?

A landlord must give notice to the tenant that the security deposit is being held and an itemized list of how the security deposit was spent. If the tenant disputes the claims of how and why the security deposit was spent, they may file a suit in small claims court against the landlord to recover the funds that are in question. The renter will need to be able to prove that the reasoning for holding the security deposit is not valid. Such as landlord is stating payment for damages accrued from tenant, tenant must prove that damages did not occur while they were tenants.

Can a landlord withhold a security deposit if a person pays the deposit sight unseen and then upon seeing decides they do not want to rent the property?

Even if a security deposit has been paid, there is no contract, until an accord and satisfaction has been reached on the lease. That being said there can be no such accord and satisfaction until the potential tenant has viewed the property and had agreed upon the terms of the lease and signed it. However a landlord is entitled to withhold a small application fee if the potential tenant does not sign the lease. If the landlord is unwilling to return the security deposit voluntarily, the renter may file a claim in small claims court against the landlord.

In the state of Florida what rights does a landlord have to keep the security deposit?

In the state of Florida a landlord has a right to keep a renter’s security deposit if the property has sustained damage above and beyond the normal wear and tear during the time the property was leased, and also if the renter has abandoned the property. The landlord must also give 30 days’ notice to the renter of their intention to keep the security deposit. The landlord must them give the former renter an itemized list of how the security deposit was used, any amount that is left over after the subtraction of costs must then be returned to the former renter. The landlord is able to hold the security deposit for 30 more days after the notification was made that the security deposit was being held.

People who have never rented property before and even those who have may not understand the purpose or need for security deposits. Let alone what their rights are when it comes to receiving their security deposit back when the end of the lease comes or when they move on. Each lease may be different in the way that is worded and some may have additional deposits, such as for pets, which may be confusing and hard to understand. If a person is unsure of how to retain their security deposit or have it returned to them they should seek the opinion of an Expert.
Ask a Real Estate Law question
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
characters left:
Real Estate Lawyers are Online Now

How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
< Last | Next >
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
  • He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here. Diane Dallas, TX
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Ron

    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    21124
    23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FO/fordguy4u/2011-12-17_222940_HPIM1257.64x64.JPG Ron's Avatar

    Ron

    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    21124
    23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/lyeung1/2010-07-25_032152_tn_IMG_0241.JPG Dr. Y.'s Avatar

    Dr. Y.

    Urologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    18368
    I am fellowship trained specializing in general urology and reconstructive urology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/docjohn174/2008-12-13_170143_johnask.jpg John's Avatar

    John

    Home Appliance Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    13453
    Appliance repair business owner for over 43 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8473
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dermdoc19/2010-09-30_160749_Photo_122807_015.JPG dermdoc19's Avatar

    dermdoc19

    Dermatologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3829
    30 years practice in general and cosmetic dermatology
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BI/birddoctor/2012-6-22_173214_birddoctor.64x64.png Dr. Pat's Avatar

    Dr. Pat

    Bird Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3383
    25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3291
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
 
 
 

Recent Security Deposit Questions

  • I live in Virginia, built an apartment in the basement of a

    I live in Virginia, built an apartment in the basement of a house without a permit so we did not have certificate of occupancy. Tenant moved out after 3 months because she could not sleep (she works nights). She clearly stated that the reason for moving out was because she could hear every step from people upstairs, normal living, not loud, just normal noises. I told her that I will let her out of the lease but I will keep her deposit and that she will have to pay until I rent the apartment again (giving her a break for breaking the lease). Father (who is not on the lease) called and left a message that he knew that the apartment was not permitted by the city and that he saw some safety issues and that he wanted us to give the daughter the security deposit and July's rent. she moved out on July 4th, did not give one month notice. Question: I know that I am entitled to keep the deposit but IF they take me to court can they argue that I did not have a certificate of occupancy from the city which is illegal? We are getting all the permits now to get it illegal.
  • Good Morning, I am located in Massachusetts and I am a land

    Good Morning,

    I am located in Massachusetts and I am a land lord. I have a tenant who has not paid rent since May. I executed a lease with him on April 1, 2014 – April 1st, 2015 where he provided his last month of rent at the time of the lease as a security deposit.

    In June he was having some money troubles so I said he could use the $1150 he paid for his deposit with the agreement that he would move out by July 1st. We agreed to this since he said he was having money trouble. I have text messages but no written agreement.

    On July 1st he did not move out and has not paid rent for July yet. He said that he is allowed to stay because he has a child and the court will not evict him. I sent him a 14 day notice to quit, service by constable, requesting that he pay up the month of June $1150.00 (which would mean paying back his deposit that I allowed him to use as the months payment because it was agreed he would move out by july 1st) and $1150 for the month of July.

    I am looking for any advice, I want to make sure I am on the right track in this process. I am new landlord and this is my first time.

    Thank You
  • Marsha, The landlord is now countersuing, and added to the

    Marsha,
    The landlord is now countersuing, and added to the list, what are his chances of winning, after his failure of providing me with a list of discounted items and or my security deposit within the california law of 21 days? Plus when I sent him the demand letter stating the law he backdates the letter exactly 21 days (May 21,2014), but I kept the envelope in which he mailed it dated June 4, 2014.
< Last | Next >