One of the most important things for a tenant to understand is how the security deposit works. Usually, the security deposit is a significant amount of money, so it’s important that a tenant understands why it’s collected, how it’s being used, how they can get a refund and if there are any special circumstances.


What is the security deposit?

A security deposit is a lump sum of money that a tenant pays to their landlord. The amount of your security deposit will vary from property to property. Generally, you can expect that a property with a higher monthly rent will also have a higher security deposit, as it is likely to have recently updated features.


Why do you have to pay a security deposit?

Landlords use the security deposit as a safety measure. The security deposit protects landlords and property managers from tenants who don’t pay rent on time or who damage the property. A security deposit is the landlord’s protection against the possibility of financially irresponsible and damaging tenants. Security deposits also typically motivate tenants to be more careful with their property by preventing lease violations and damages.


How do you get your security deposit back?

Your landlord is required to either return your security deposit to you or provide a written explanation of why your security deposit is not being refunded within 30 days of you vacating your rental property. The best way to ensure you get most, if not all, of your security deposit back is to always pay rent and fees on time and to make sure the property is not damaged at all. If you leave the property looking just as nice as when you moved in, you’re likely to get your security deposit back. If you damage the property in any way, however, you are unlikely to get much of your security deposit back, as your landlord will use that money to cover the repairs.


Are there any special circumstances?

If you will be bringing a pet with you to your rental property, you will likely have to pay a pet deposit in addition to your security deposit. Depending on the property, the pet deposit may or may not be refundable. The pet deposit is intended to protect the landlord financially in the case your pet causes any damages to the property. You may also be required to pay a certain amount in pet rent, so it’s necessary for you to seriously consider whether or not you can afford a pet when you move into a new rental property.


We know that understanding the security deposit can be a challenge for tenants, especially if they are first time renters, but all of us at Scott Brown Properties believe in transparency between landlords and tenants. This is why we are so invested in making sure that tenants understand what their security deposit is, how it functions and how they can get the best possible refund when they leave their rental property.


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