What is Apartment Security Deposit – Everything You Need to Know

By: ROS Team

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The campaign to find a rental apartment is a tiresome job. You will be moving from apartment to apartment to choose what suits your lifestyle. And when you are about to sign a deal for your first apartment, you come across the requirement of a security deposit. You wonder what exactly does that means and why am I being secured?

If you are bogged down with such quarries, look no further, the following information will be enough for you to get a complete insight into the Apartment Security Deposit.

What Exactly Is A Security Deposit?

In simple words, a security deposit is a certain amount of money that a new resident gives to their landlord or property management company, besides their advance rent payments. This can be considered as some sort of insurance money. The chief advantage it runs for you is that it essentially saves your money for a rainy day in case you damage the apartment or miss out on any rent.

What is Security Deposit

On the brighter side, the security deposit remains refundable.  If you consider yourself a good tenant and aim to fulfill your commitments, you need not worry about your deposited money.

However, unfortunate incidents do happen and you shall remain prepared to confront the situation.

Let us discuss some of the uncertainties attached to the security deposit and how shall you respond to them?

What Amounts As A Security Deposit?

Now you have a basic concept of what is a security deposit, you must be wondering how much is considered as a security deposit? Sometimes, it depends on the location of the property and at other times, the location might not matter.

Conventionally, the law suggests one month’s rent for the unfurnished apartment and one and half months rent for the furnished apartment.

What to Pay as Security Deposit

One factor that contributes to deciding on a security deposit is your credit score. Your credits score predicts the level of risk in renting you the apartment and landlords and property management companies have access to it and know how to press you against your credit score. The equation is simple, the lower the credit score, the riskier you are and vice versa.

Some landlord and real estate management companies set the minimum standard for credit scores. So it is counseled to you to check your credit score before you apply for a certain apartment.

One Additional Tip: Get to know about the extra fees charges against certain requirements such as application processing or additional pet fees and do not lump them together to calculate your security deposit.

When Are You Supposed To Pay A Security Deposit And Who Keeps It Meanwhile?

To serve your curiosity if you are renting for the first time, you must pay your security deposit before you move in. you are likely to receive a checklist of due payment before shifting at the property by the landlord or the property management. If you are keen to rent that specific apartment, do not forget to pay your security deposit in time or you might lose your bet for securing the apartment.

In most states, the security deposit is kept in the interest-based account by the landlords or property management. You will be sharing the bank receipt of the deposited amount in a separate bank, along with the account’s annual interest rate.

However, regardless of where your security deposit is kept, it cannot be spent until the special occasion demands such as beyond your typical wear and tear.

How To Get Your Security Deposit Back?

In case all goes well and you owe your landlord nothing, you are entitled to receive your deposited money back. The timeline to get money back may vary from 14 to 60 days post-move-out.

Do not be surprised if the fraction of the amount is held against small itemized expenses like cleaning or key replacements. At the same time, any small wear and tear cannot be used as an excuse to help all of your security deposits.

Get Your Security Deposit Back

How to Respond if your Landlord or Rental Company Refuses to give your Security Deposit Back to you?

If you consider yourself clean and still your landlord makes an issue to not return your deposit, you shall consider writing a demand letter.  The letter shall bear a formal argument on why your security deposit should be returned.  Most of the time, both parties reach out to a compromise but if you feel you are incurring great losses in a negotiation, you may consider pursuing your claims n court.

On the flip side, pursuing a lawsuit in court sometimes becomes a cumbersome process so try to explore all other alternatives before pursuing to the court.

Some Other Basic Questions?

Following are some of the additional basic questions.

  • In case of any disaster caused by natural forces, you will not be obliged to pay that from your deposit. You are responsible solely for the damage caused by your actions.
  • In case of any theft incident, the damage caused by the thief is likely to be covered by the landlord’s insurance. However, your belongings will not be included in that.
  • Fires: if any unfortunate incident happens as of fire, the rule is, if you started a fire under your roof, be it accidentally or not, you will be held responsible for the damage and have to even pay from the pocket if losses are more than they deposit. However, if the fire was set up by your neighbor, then you hold no responsibility for that and either your neighbor or your landlord’s insurance will compensate the losses.



Every state and property has its rules about security deposits. The amount of security deposit also varies from state to state and property to property. You shall have a good glance over the lease agreement and know how exactly the security deposit system works.

Read Also:

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