Security Deposit Roundup - Tenant Resource Center

Security Deposit Roundup

I've written a lot about security deposits lately, and since we're still getting questions ('tis the season, after all, for rancorous debate about what, exactly, required cleaning), I think this is the moment to put All Security Deposit Links in One Place. And this is the One Place.

Click through for all possible linky-links that we have on Security Deposits. 

The Basics: The basic information on Security Deposits are on our content pages. These get updated when there are law changes, and are a great place to start with your basic questions. 

Normal Wear and Tear: Almost every security deposit dispute ends up with a problem that hinges on the definition of "Normal Wear and Tear." Something like: Did my apartment really need an extra 2 hours of cleaning? We wrote a post on the nitty gritty of the term, though, alas, you'll probably still need to work it out for yourself. Click here for the post on Normal Wear and Tear.

For Those Unexpected Fees: Sometimes, something unexpected ends up on a security deposit bill, like a fee for not returning all your keys, or late fees, or...? (The possibilities really are endless). In a situation where you're trying to figure out the legality of these fees, here are two helpful places to look for information:

  • NonStandard Rental Provisions: in order for a weird fee to show up on your list of deductions, they must also be on a part of your lease called a "NON-STANDARD RENTAL PROVISION." No, I'm not yelling. The law does, to make sure you read it.
  • This post on two Contract Law Issues deals with liquidated damages (legal-speak for weird fees) and depreciation (especially as depreciation has to do with carpet cleaning). 

Speaking of Carpet Cleaning: Here's our content page on Carpet Cleaning.

Roommates and Security Deposits: If you've shared a rental with roommates, and it wasn't actually the most fun you've ever had, then some info you might need include:

  • Joint and Several Liability: You can all be held responsible for one person's stupidity. A post on what, exactly, makes that true.
  • Roommates and You: this is more for future reference, if you decide to do the roommate thing again in the future, though preferably with your eyes open this time.

Some of the Weird Stuff: Read our post on "Security Deposit Myths De-Bunked" to see where you might have unexpected gaps in knowledge. (For the record, Myth #3 is regularly one that trips everyone up. We teach landlords, service providers, attorneys and so many more at our bi-annual housing law seminars, and we see their surprise. Every. Single. Time. Even in folks you'd think would know by now.)


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