How Security Deposits Work for Moving Tenants

Are you planning on moving soon? If so this could possibly be considered one of the most exciting and stressful times in your life. Things such as finding new schools, new jobs, new grocery stores and much more can all play a big role in the amount of stress that comes along with moves. That is why we want to take a minute to cover a few things that may help you alleviate some of that stress when preparing to move. In today’s discussion we will be covering how security deposits work in Ohio for those that are planning to move.

Security Deposit Amounts

Typically the amount due for a security deposit is dependent on not only your credit / history, but the rent of the property itself. This amount is held in a bank account that is usually separate from the business bank account of the landlord, and the “standard” amount of the deposit is one or two months of the rent amount. So it wouldn’t be unheard of to see a ‘first month, last month’ scenario, which means you are essentially paying the first month’s rent and the last month’s rent upfront. This is to ensure that the landlord is protected against unforeseen situations that would see rent not being paid.

In some cases, landlords will only charge 1 month’s rent or even less as a security deposit. This is all determined by the property owner / landlord themselves and is part of the contractual lease you sign upon renting a property.

When Can Landlord Keep the Security Deposit?

Considering that the security deposit is used almost like insurance for a landlord, its main purpose is to protect the landlord against anything that may need fixed or made up for when you leave the property. For example, your landlord may fix a broken disposal that has worn out over time. This amount would NOT come from your security deposit. However, if you or someone of your household were to put something down the same disposal that caused it to no longer work, then amounts of your security deposit may be used in order to fix the issue. Other reasons your security deposit may be used are for late fees or unpaid rent.

How Long Does My Landlord Have to Return the Security Deposit?

The amount a time a landlord has to return your security deposit can vary by the state you live in. However, majority of the time it is 30 days after you have vacated the property. For the exact amount of time, we would recommend reading over your lease agreement thoroughly as you should be able to locate the answer there.

If you have been a model tenant laid out by the terms of your rental lease, then you can rest assured that you stand a very good chance at getting your entire security deposit returned to you. Keep in mind the job of the security deposit is to protect a landlord against people who cannot keep the terms of their lease.

Does My Security Deposit Earn Interest?

As we spoke about a little before, the security deposit you put on your rental property will generally be put in to an account that is separate from the landlord’s business account. This is to ensure the money remains available for when it is time to return the appropriate funds. In a lot of cases these bank accounts will provide the ability to gain interest on the money deposited into the account. Who is entitled to the interest? That depends on the state you live. In Ohio, the renter is entitled to the security deposit’s interest and is paid to the tenant on an annual basis.

What Happens if My Landlord Won’t Return My Rightful Security Deposit?

Did you provide your landlord a proper forwarding address in writing? Has it been longer than the 30 days required for your security deposit to be returned? Don’t worry, you have rights. In fact, this only benefits you (depending on your state). In Ohio, if the landlord has not returned the security deposit minus any withholdings and an explanation of withholdings within the 30 day window, the tenant is entitled to their security deposit back plus damages in the amount of the wrongfully withheld amount and attorney’s fees.

Dealing with rental agreements and security deposits can sometimes be extremely stressful. We at Buckeye Northwest Realty understand the challenges of dealing with it all. That is why we pride ourselves in working directly with our tenants to make sure we have the best relationship possible. For more information on rental agreements or to find houses for rent in Toledo, Ohio contact us today!

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