Security Deposits 101

A Security Deposit is money that a landlord or property manager requires a tenant to pay that serves to protect the landlord or property manager if the tenant violates the lease or rental agreement. In addition, it also may be used by a landlord or property manager to cover damage, cleaning, key replacement or rent that is owed (source). However, the deposits cannot be used to fix any normal wear or tear that occurs over the life of the lease.

Different states have different rules regarding the maximum amount a landlord can charge for a security deposit. For example, in Arizona the limit is one and one half month’s rent while in Alaska the limit is 2 months unless the rent is over $2,000 a month. In Alaska the landlord can also ask for more money if the tenant has a non-service animal as a pet. Half the states do not have a limit on how much can be charged as a security deposit. In addition, many states require that landlords or property managers keep security deposits in separate bank accounts and even pay tenants any interests accrued over the lifetime of the lease (source).

If you’re a property owner or manager one of the most important things you need to do to protect yourself when it comes to security deposits is to make sure that you take pictures that are dated to right before your tenants moves into your property. If you end up using a security deposit to make repairs a tenant could sue you for the deposit claiming that you’re using their security deposit for normal wear or tear. Having pictures of your property from before the tenants moved in could be the difference between winning and losing a lawsuit for a security deposit.

RISSOFT lease management software can help protect you from this type lawsuit by helping you manage your documents efficiently. RISSOFT property management software allows you to link documents and scanned images into a tenant database. You can also track repairs and invoices making the easily accessible and can even set reminders to help you stay organized and remember to complete important tasks.

This post is provided by RISSOFT Residential and Commercial Property Management Software, specializing in innovative and cutting-edge property management software for all 50 states. Request a demo or contact us today to receive more information.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.