Planning Ahead: Take Steps Now to Get Your Security Deposit Back

As you move into your new off-campus apartment your security deposit probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. However, your actions now can greatly impact if some or all of your security deposit will be returned to you when you move out.


Let’s start with the basics: Your landlord cannot charge you more than 1 month’s rent as a security deposit. A security deposit is different from last month’s rent, and you cannot use it as payment for rent. The purpose of the security deposit is to protect your landlord, in case you damage the apartment during your lease. Your security deposit must be placed in an interest bearing bank account, separate from your landlord’s money, in the same state that you are renting.

Your landlord must give you a written receipt of your security deposit payment. This receipt should include the date the payment was received, what it is for (i.e security deposit) and the fact that you are owed interest on this money. Later (usually within 30 days) you should receive a receipt that gives you information regarding the name and location of the bank that your money has been deposited in, as well as the bank account number. If this information is not provided to you, you may be entitled to your receiving your security deposit back immediately!

Within 10 days of receiving your security deposit, your landlord should provide you with a statement of condition. This document should list all of the existing damage in your apartment. Be sure to review this document and make sure it is correct. You must send it back to your landlord within 15 days after receiving it. Keep a copy of the document, signed by your landlord for your own records. If there is any preexisting damage in your apartment, be sure to take time stamped photos and include a copy of them both in your records and in the statement of condition you send back to your landlord.

For more information on your security deposit rights click here.

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