Security deposit limits and maximums by state

Security deposit limits and maximums by state

Abraham Elmahrek

Security deposits are an integral and expensive part of the renting process. They reduce fears around property destruction by giving landlord's a sum of money to deduct damages against. However, as competition and prices rise, so do security deposit amounts. Several states have acted to address this problem by placing maximums on the amount of money that can be collected.

There are several elements to security deposits that are important:

  • Time it takes for the landlord to process.
  • How it can be collected.
  • Where it can be stored.
  • How interest should be shared (if at all).
  • If a move-in inspection is required.
  • If a move-out inspection is required.
  • Whether an itemized list of damages is required.
  • Whether itemization requires associated costs.

In this article, we'll surface all of the maximums on security deposits.

State Limit Description Reference
Alabama 1 month A landlord may not demand or receive money as security, in an amount in 5 excess of 1 month's periodic rent except for pets, changes to the premises, or 6 increased liability risks to the landlord or premises, for tenant's obligations under a 7 rental agreement. Alabama Laws
Alaska 2 months A landlord may not demand or receive prepaid rent or a security deposit, however denominated, in an amount or value in excess of two months' periodic rent. This section does not apply to rental units where the rent exceeds $2,000 a month. Alaska Laws
Arizona 1 ½ months A landlord shall not demand or receive security, however denominated, including prepaid rent in an amount or value of more than one and one-half month's rent. This subsection does not prohibit a tenant from voluntarily paying more than one and one-half month's rent in advance. Arizona Laws
Arkansas 2 months If you are required to pay a security deposit, you cannot be charged in excess of two months' rent. For example, if your rent is $500 a month, a landlord cannot require a security deposit of more than $1,000. When you move, the landlord must return your security deposit within 60 days. The landlord may, however, deduct from the security deposit the cost to repair any damages made to the dwelling or any past-due rent. Arkansas Laws
California 1 month For a non-furnished residence, a landlord cannot charge more than twice the rent, plus the first month's rent, as a deposit. For a furnished residence, landlords can charge up to three times the rent in addition to the first month's rent. California Laws
Colorado None The state of Colorado does not set a limit on the maximum amount a landlord can charge a tenant as a security deposit. Colorado Laws
Connecticut 2 months Landlords can't require more than two months rent as a security deposit. This limit is reduced to one month's rent if a tenant is 62 years of age or older. Connecticut Laws
Delaware 1 month No landlord may require a security deposit in excess of 1 month's rent (with the exception of federally-assisted housing regulations), for primary residential tenancies of undefined terms or month to month where the tenancy has lasted 1 year or more. After the expiration of 1 year, the landlord shall immediately return, as a credit to the tenant, any security deposit amount in excess of 1 month's rent, including such amount which when combined with the amount of any surety bond is in excess of 1 month's rent. Delaware Laws
Florida None Florida statutes do not limit the amount a landlord can charge as a security deposit. Florida Laws
Georgia None There is no limit on the amount Georgia Landlords can charge as security deposit. Georgia Laws
Hawaii 1 month A landlord may only charge a tenant the equivalent of one month's rent for the security deposit. Please note a landlords may require an additional deposit of one month's rent for tenants who keep a pet. Nonrefundable fees are not permitted. Hawaii Laws
Idaho None Idaho state law doesn't limit how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. Idaho Laws
Illinois None There's no limit on the amount that a landlord may charge as a security deposit in the state of Illinois. Illinois Laws
Indiana None There is no limit in the state of Indiana as to the maximum amount a landlord can charge a tenant as a security deposit. Indiana Laws
Iowa 2 months Security deposits cannot be greater than two months rent. Iowa Laws
Kansas 2 months A landlord shall not demand or receive as a security deposit an amount or value in excess of two months' rent. Kansas Laws
Kentucky None According to the Kentucky landlord and tenant laws, there is no maximum limit on how much a landlord may charge as a security deposit to their tenants. Kentucky Laws
Louisiana None There is no maximum limit in the state of Louisiana on how much a landlord may charge as a security deposit to their tenants Louisiana Laws
Maine 2 months According to Maine lease and rental agreement laws, landlords cannot charge you more than two (2) times your monthly rent for a security deposit. If you live in subsidized housing, your security deposit should be much less. Maine Laws
Maryland 2 months The security deposit may not be more than two months' rent. Maryland Laws
Massachusetts 2 months The security deposit may not be more than two months' rent. Massachusetts Laws
Michigan 1 month and a half The law states that a security deposit shall not exceed 1 and 1/2 times the monthly rent. Michigan Laws
Minnesota None There are no limits on how much a landlord may charge as a security deposit (or pet fee) as long as it is stated in the lease agreement. Minnesota Laws
Mississippi None Mississippi state law does not limit how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. Mississippi Laws
Missouri 2 months Under Missouri law, a landlord cannot charge more than two months' rent as a security deposit. Missouri Laws
Montana None Montana state law does not limit how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. Montana Laws
Nebraska 1 month A landlord may not demand or receive security, however denominated, in an amount or value in excess of one month's rent. Nebraska Laws
Nevada 3 months The landlord may not demand or receive security or a surety bond, or a combination thereof, including the last month's rent, whose total amount or value exceeds 3 months' periodic rent. Nevada Laws
New Hampshire 1 month A landlord cannot require you to pay a security deposit greater than one month's rent or $100, whichever amount is larger. New Hampshire Laws
New Jersey 1 ½ months An owner or lessee may not require more than a sum equal to 1 1/2 times 1 month's rental according to the terms of contract, lease, or agreement as a security for the use or rental of real property used for dwelling purposes New Jersey Laws
New Mexico None New Mexico state law limits how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit New Mexico Laws
New York 1 month All tenants can be required to give their landlord a security deposit, but it is limited to no more than one month's rent. New York Laws
North Carolina 2 months If agreement with the landlord is to rent his property on a week-to-week basis, your deposit may not exceed the equivalent of two weeks' rent. If you're renting on a month-to-month basis, your deposit cannot be more than 1 1/2 months' rent. And, if your rental period is greater than month-to-month, your deposit cannot bemore than two months' rent. North Carolina Laws
North Dakota 1 month North Dakota landlords can charge 1 month's rent as a security deposit (or 2 if the tenant is a convicted felon or violated a previous lease). North Dakota Laws
Ohio 1 month There is no limit on the amount that Ohio landlords can charge as security deposit. Ohio Laws
Oklahoma None There is no limit to the amount of security deposit landlords may charge. Oklahoma Laws
Oregon None In Oregon there is no maximum amount your landlord can charge for the security deposit. Oregon Laws
Pennsylvania 2 months The maximum a landlord can require for a security deposit is two months' rent. For any subsequent years of renting, the landlord can't require more than one month's rent. Pennsylvania Laws
Rhode Island 1 month The law says that your landlord can ask for a security deposit equal to the amount of your monthly rent. The landlord cannot get more than that by saying you must pay a security deposit plus "last month's rent." For example, if your rent is $800, the landlord can ask for a total security deposit of up to $800. Rhode Island Laws
South Carolina 1 month In South Carolina, the security deposit law doesn't limit how much a landlord can ask as a security deposit. South Carolina Laws
South Dakota 1 month The maximum security deposit a landlord can charge a tenant for a residential dwelling is no more than one month's rent. South Dakota Laws
Tennessee None In the state of Tennessee, there is no limit on the maximum amount a landlord can charge a tenant as a security deposit. Tennessee Laws
Texas None Texas law doesn't impose any limits as to the maximum amount that a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit. Texas Laws
Utah None The state of Utah does not place any limit as to the maximum amount a landlord can charge a tenant as a security deposit. Utah Laws
Vermont None The state of Vermont has no established maximum amount that a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit. Vermont Laws
Virginia 2 months No landlord may demand or receive a security deposit, however denominated, in an amount or value in excess of two months' periodic rent. Virginia Laws
Washington 1 month Washington does not set a limit on how much landlords can charge tenants as a security deposit. Washington Laws
Washington D.C. 1 month The landlord may not charge more than the amount of one month's rent, and it may be charged only once. Washington D.C. Laws
West Virginia None West Virginia state law does not limit how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. West Virginia Laws
Wisconsin None There is no limit on the maximum amount a landlord can charge a tenant as a security deposit. Wisconsin Laws
Wyoming None There is no statutory limit on the maximum amount a landlord can charge a tenant as a security deposit. Wyoming Laws

FAQ

Why do security deposit limits exist?

Many security deposit limit laws are added when there's a housing crisis of some kind. For example, California's laws were added in the 1970s when homeless was skyrocketing. They're usually added to cap the barrier to entry for a home.

What should I do when my landlord asked for a security deposit over the allowed limit?
  1. Request that they lower it to the legal allowed limit.
  2. Report them to your local department of consumer affairs. This is especially true if you are about to sign a lease and the property manager decides not to rent to you if you request to have the amount lowered to the legal limit.
  3. Walk away if you can. A property manager that doesn't follow the law is not one that you should rent from.
If I have a pet, can the security deposit be higher?

In some states, there is a separate security deposit limit when a renter has a pet. For example, Hawaii increases its security deposit limit by one month if a pet will be involved.

Can furnished apartments have a higher security deposit limit?

Yes. Some states have different security deposit limits for furnished units. For example, California increases its limit by 1 month.

Do security deposit limits apply to midterm rentals?

In most cases, no. Most security deposit laws apply to long term rentals.

Do security deposit limits apply to mobile homes?

Sometimes. The laws for manufactured home and mobile home leases can be different than the ones for apartments or houses.

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