When you negotiate with a landlord, most of the time you will not only agree on how much rent you will owe every month but a security deposit (also known as security) will be agreed upon by both parties. Some people might be wondering: What are security deposits? Do these deposits favor the landlord? These are the facts behind security deposits.

What Are Security Deposits?

When someone renting an apartment pays a security deposit to a landlord, that amount of the deposit is usually one month of rent or several months of rent in more expensive properties. The purpose behind a security deposit is to cover rent that the tenant may have skipped out on or to clean the apartment if the tenant has left the apartment in worse shape than the apartment was when they first moved in. If your landlord uses your security deposit to clean or fix the apartment, the landlord can only use your security to get the apartment back in its previous shape.

Why Are Security Deposits Needed?

If tenants try to rent an apartment and get out of paying rent or mess up the apartment to where it can’t be rented again before having professional cleaners clean the apartment, the landlord will be awarded the security deposit or at least part of the security deposit. Security deposits are needed to protect the landlord from losing money if they end up renting to an unfavorable tenant.

If something was in working condition and the tenant leaves something in non-working condition when they vacate the apartment, the landlord would have to fix that item and if there were no security deposits, the landlord would lose that money. If a tenant was vacated for not paying rent then the security deposit may cover some of the rent that the tenant refused to pay.

Security deposits are not meant to fix items that broke from simple wear and tear over time. If something like that occurs while you are renting an apartment, it is best to bring the issue up to the landlord as soon as possible. An example of wear and tear is a tenant who wants to cook dinner and their stove doesn’t work because the stove is very old and doesn’t work anymore. The landlord has to replace the stove and can not use part of the tenant’s security to buy a new stove unless the landlord can claim, the tenant was responsible for the stove not working.

How Does A Tenant Get Their Security Back?

If the tenant is dealing with a private landlord, the tenant should let the landlord know at the beginning of the month that they plan to move out the following month. If you paid one-month security, you can tell the landlord to keep the security as payment of rent for the final month. You may have to pay more money if security does not match the rent for a full month. Usually, landlords will agree to this if the tenant maintained the apartment while they rented it.

If you rented an apartment from a property management company then this may not be an option. The property management company knows the laws regarding security deposits and they do vary from state to state.

If anyone was unclear on what security deposits are, hopefully, this provided an answer to those questions. The state laws can vary from state to state regarding security deposits. However, these rules are not one-sided because they provide protection of rights for tenants as well.