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security-deposit-laws-by-state

Security Deposit Laws by State

Collecting a security deposit is one of the best ways for landlords and property managers to ensure that tenants will take good care of a property and pay all of their rent. Depending on where the rental unit is located, there may be state limitations on how much of a deposit can be requested, what kind of account the funds are kept in, and how long the deposit can be held after the tenant moves out. Some state laws even require an itemized list of expenses when deductions are made, and others have special rules for pet-related fees. In all cases, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities before signing a Lease Agreement.

If you are a landlord or a tenant, this state-by-state guide to security deposit laws provides more details on the requirements and restrictions that may apply to you—but keep in mind that local rules sometimes exist, as well. For a full picture of the guidelines related to your unique property, it is best to talk to a lawyer.

Alabama

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent (additional deposit may be required for pets, tenant alterations, or anything that would increase landlord’s liability)
  • Deadline for return: 60 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Unpaid rent and damages beyond normal wear and tear
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Alaska

  • Amount limits: 2 months’ rent (excluding rents that exceed $2,000 per month)
  • Deadline for return: 14 days with proper notification by tenant, and 30 days without proper notification by tenant or if landlord intends to make deductions
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Deterioration of the premises (and its contents, if applicable) other than normal wear and tear or that resulting from landlord’s failure to uphold their obligations
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be deposited in a bank or escrow account, and landlord must provide tenant with terms and conditions of deductions and refund

Arizona

  • Amount limits: 1 1/2 months’ rent
  • Deadline for return: 14 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Unpaid rent, damage to the unit (beyond normal wear and tear), or other expenses pertaining to the tenant’s failure to comply with the terms of the rental agreement
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Arkansas

  • Amount limits: 2 months’ rent (only applies to landlords who own 6 or more properties or who have someone else manage or collect rent on their properties)
  • Deadline for return: 60 days (same exemptions for amount limits apply)
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage beyond normal wear and tear, cleaning costs, unpaid rent, late fees
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

California

  • Amount limits: 2 months’ rent (3 months’ rent if furnished)
  • Deadline for return: 21 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage beyond normal wear and tear, cleaning costs, unpaid rent, any future debts that may be incurred due to tenant’s violation of lease terms, other breaches of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Colorado

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 30 days if unspecified, and up to 60 days if lease specifies
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage beyond normal wear and tear, repair, cleaning costs, unpaid rent, utility bills, abandonment of the property 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Connecticut

  • Amount limits: 2 months’ rent for tenants under 62 years of age, and 1 month’s rent for tenants 62 and older
  • Deadline for return: 30 days, or within 15 days of receiving tenant’s forwarding address (whichever is later)
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage beyond normal wear and tear, repair, cleaning costs, unpaid rent, utility bills, other charges associated with a violation of lease terms
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be put into an escrow account with a Connecticut-based financial institution, and landlord must pay accrued interest to the tenant upon the first anniversary of their tenancy as long as the tenant is up to date on their rent (any additional interest must be paid out each successive anniversary and upon termination of the lease)

Delaware

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent for leases of 1 year or more, no limit in the first year for month-to-month leases (but 1 month’s rent after that), no limit for furnished rentals, and tenant may elect to offer a surety bond instead of a deposit
  • Deadline for return: 20 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damages beyond normal wear and tear, unpaid rent or late fees, costs associated with re-renting the unit upon breaking the lease early
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be put into an escrow account with a federally insured, Delaware-based financial institution, and landlord must inform the tenant about the location of the funds 

District of Columbia

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent
  • Deadline for return: 45 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: To cover any costs associated with violations of the lease agreement (such as damage, cleaning, unpaid rent), but the reasons for deductions must be stated in the lease agreement or a written receipt for the deposit
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be deposited into an interest-bearing account with a financial institution based in the District of Columbia (and this account must be used solely for security deposits), and landlord must pay the tenant accrued interest after 1 year

Florida

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 15 days, or 30 days if landlord intends to make deductions
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be deposited into a separate bank account with a Florida-based financial institution (if it’s interest-bearing, accrued interest must be paid to the tenant annually and at the end of the lease term), or landlord may post a surety bond for the amount of the deposit

Georgia

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 1 month
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, cleaning costs, unpaid rent and late fees, unpaid utility bills, unpaid pet fees, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be put into an escrow account with a state- or federally insured, Georgia-based financial institution, and landlord must inform the tenant about the location of the funds, or landlord may post a surety bond for the amount of the deposit 

Hawaii

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent
  • Deadline for return: 14 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, cleaning costs, unpaid rent and late fees, failure to return any keys furnished by the landlord, costs pertaining to breaking the lease early, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Idaho

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 21 days, or up to 30 days if both parties agree
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, other costs associated with violations of lease terms
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Illinois

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 30 days if landlord intends to make deductions, and 45 days if landlord intends to return it in full
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, cleaning costs, unpaid rent, unpaid utility bills, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Landlords with 25 or more units in the same building or complex must pay interest on deposits held for more than 6 months, payable to the tenant within 30 days of the termination of a 1-year lease

Indiana

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 45 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, unpaid utility bills, last month’s rent (if agreed to by both parties), or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Iowa

  • Amount limits: 2 month’s rent
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, costs associated with gaining possession of unit that tenant has refused to surrender, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Deposits must be placed in a dedicated account with a financial institution (any accrued interest is the property of the landlord)

Kansas

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent if unfurnished, 1 1/2 months’ rent if furnished, and an additional 1/2 month’s rent for pets
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be held in a dedicated account in a federally insured financial institution (any accrued interest is the property of the landlord)

Kentucky

  • Amount limits: No statutory limits, but before collecting a deposit, the landlord must provide the tenant with a list of pre existing damages and inform them of their right of inspection
  • Deadline for return: 30 days, or up to 60 days if tenant disputes deductions
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be held in a dedicated account in a state- or federally insured financial institution (landlord must inform the tenant of the name and address of the financial institution, and the account number)

Louisiana

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 1 month
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, unpaid utility bills, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Maine

  • Amount limits: 2 month’s rent
  • Deadline for return: 30 days if there is a written/signed rental agreement, and 21 days for tenancy-at-will
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be kept in a dedicated bank account that is safe from their creditors (in the event of a foreclosure or other such action), and landlord must provide tenant with the name of the financial institution where the deposit is located and the account number if asked  

Maryland

  • Amount limits: 2 months’ rent
  • Deadline for return: 45 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Deposits must be placed in a dedicated account within 30 days of their receipt (all deposits exceeding $50 must be placed in an account that bears at least 3% annual interest, accruing every 6 months), held as a certificate of deposit at a financial institution, or landlord may post a surety bond for the amount of the deposit  

Massachusetts

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, unpaid water bills, or unpaid real estate taxes the tenant was required to pay (per the lease agreement)
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be placed in a dedicated, interest-bearing account in a Massachusetts-based financial institution, and accrued interest must be paid to the tenant annually (either 5% or the bank’s interest rate)

Michigan

  • Amount limits: 1 1/2 months’ rent
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, unpaid utility bills, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be placed in an escrow account or held as a surety bond 

Minnesota

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 3 weeks after tenant receives forwarding address
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be placed in an interest-bearing (at least 1%) account 

Mississippi

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 45 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, cleaning costs, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Missouri

  • Amount limits: 2 months’ rent
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Montana

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 30 days, or 10 days if landlord does not intend to make any deductions
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent and late fees, charge for the landlord’s labor, unpaid utilities, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Nebraska

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent, plus an additional quarter-month’s rent as a pet deposit
  • Deadline for return: 14 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or unpaid utilities
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Nevada

  • Amount limits: 3 months’ rent for private housing, and 1 month’s rent for public housing (tenant’s have the option of taking out a surety bond instead if both parties agree)
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or cleaning costs
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

New Hampshire

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent, unless it is a shared facility—such as a boarding house—in which case there is no limit
  • Deadline for return: 30 days, or 20 days if no written agreement
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, unpaid taxes, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be held in a dedicated account in a bank located in New Hampshire, and must provide information about the funds (bank, account number, interest rate, etc.) upon tenant’s request

New Jersey

  • Amount limits: 1 1/2 months’ rent, and landlord may increase deposit if rent is increased (but no more than 10% in a given year)
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, or unpaid rent
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be placed in a money market fund in a New Jersey-based investment company, or in an interest-bearing bank account (if landlord owns 10 or more units, the interest rate must be equal to or greater than the interest rate for the bank’s money market accounts); tenant must be paid interest on deposit annually

New Mexico

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent for leases less than 1 year; for leases of 1 year or more, either 1 month’s rent or any amount greater than that if it’s in an interest-bearing account and the tenant is paid the interest annually 
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, unpaid utilities, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: If charging more than 1 month’s rent as a deposit, it must be put into an account that earns an interest rate equal to or greater than the passbook interest rate on New Mexico savings accounts 

New York

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent, unless it is subject to the City Rent and Rehabilitation Law or the Emergency Housing Rent Control Law
  • Deadline for return: 14 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be kept in a dedicated savings account based in New York, and must earn the average interest rate in the area if landlord owns rental property with 6 or more units (landlord may keep an annual fee of up to 1% of the deposit amount, and the tenant is paid the rest of any accrued interest annually)

North Carolina

  • Amount limits: 2 weeks’ rent for week-to-week, 1 1/2 months’ rent for month-to-month, 2 months’ rent for rentals exceeding 2 months, and a “reasonable, non-refundable” pet deposit (no specific limit) 
  • Deadline for return: 30 days, or 60 days (total) if a dispute over deductions extends beyond 30 days 
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, unpaid utilities, breach of lease agreement, court costs, costs of removing tenant’s possessions after eviction, costs of re-renting the unit after a breach, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be kept in a trust account in a North Carolina-based financial institution, or landlord may post a bond for the same amount with a company that has a North Carolina business license

North Dakota

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent, additional pet deposit of up to $2,500 or 2 months’ rent (whichever is greater), and up to 2 months’ rent for tenants with felony convictions
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or cleaning costs  
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be kept in a dedicated interest-bearing savings account (accrued interest is payable to the tenant after 9 months)

Ohio

  • Amount limits: No limit, but deposits greater than 1 month’s rent must bear interest at or greater than 5% if tenant remains on the property for 6 months or more (accrued interest is payable to the tenant annually)
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, or unpaid rent
  • Maintenance of funds: No requirements, unless deposit is greater than 1 month’s rent, in which case it must be placed into an interest-bearing account

Oklahoma

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 45 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be kept in an escrow account in a federally insured financial institution based in Oklahoma

Oregon

  • Amount limits: No limit, but landlord may increase deposit amount within the first year of the lease only if both parties agree to reasonable increases (such as a new pet) in the lease agreement
  • Deadline for return: 31 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Pennsylvania

  • Amount limits: 2 months’ rent for first year, 1 month’s rent for each successive year, and landlord may not increase deposit amount (even if rent has increased) if tenant has rented a given property for 5 or more years
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be kept in an escrow account in a federally or state-regulated financial institution, or landlord may post a guarantee bond for the amount; landlord must inform tenant of the name and address of the bank and the amount of the deposit

Rhode Island

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent
  • Deadline for return: 20 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

South Carolina

  • Amount limits: No limits, but landlord may charge different deposits for different tenants only if the units are not comparable and must notify all tenants of the discrepancy  
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, or unpaid rent
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

South Dakota

  • Amount limits: 1 month’s rent, but a higher amount may be required if tenant presents “special conditions” that “pose a danger to the maintenance of the premises” (such as a pet)
  • Deadline for return: 2 weeks, and an itemized accounting of deductions within 45 days if requested
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, or unpaid rent
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Tennessee

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be kept in a dedicated account in a financial institution regulated by the state or federal government 

Texas

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 30 days, but landlord is not required to return deposit if lease agreement requires written notice of intention to vacate premises and fails to do so
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Utah

  • Amount limits: No limits, and landlord may charge a nonrefundable deposit as long as it’s clearly stated in the lease agreement or another document that is signed by both parties
  • Deadline for return: 30 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, cleaning costs, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Vermont

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 14 days, but 60 days if it’s a seasonal rental and not a primary residence
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid utilities, unpaid rent, or cost of removing items after tenant moves out
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Virginia

  • Amount limits: 2 months’ rent
  • Deadline for return: 45 days, but deductions must be itemized within 30 days (45 days if charges exceed deposit amount)
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid utilities, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Landlord must keep itemized records of all security deposits

Washington

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 21 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: Must be kept in a dedicated trust account, a savings account in a state- or federally regulated financial institution, or in an escrow account with an agent based in Washington 

West Virginia

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 60 days, or within 45 days of occupancy by new tenant (whichever is shorter), and 15 days may be added if damage exceeds deposit amount and requires professional work   
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, unpaid utilities, costs associated with removing items after tenant has vacated property, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Wisconsin

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 21 days
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, unpaid utilities, or other costs associated with violations of terms outlined in a separate Nonstandard Rental Provisions document
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Wyoming

  • Amount limits: (no statutory guidelines)
  • Deadline for return: 30 days if applied to unpaid rent, or within 15 days of receiving tenant’s forwarding address if later than that, and an additional 30 days if deductions are made for damage  
  • Acceptable reasons for deductions: Damage and repairs other than normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, cleaning costs, or other costs associated with violations of lease terms 
  • Maintenance of funds: (no statutory guidelines)

Stay protected

Whether you are a property owner or a renter, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to security deposits. If you have any questions, ask a lawyer or explore more resources for landlords and tenants.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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