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What is the most a landlord can charge for a security deposit? (in all 50 states)

What is the most a landlord can charge for a security deposit? (in all 50 states)

If you are about to move into a new apartment, or you’re ready to find a new home for yourself and your family, you might be wondering, what is the most a landlord can charge for a security deposit?

Well, we’ve got you covered! Rental laws vary from state to state, so we’ve compiled a list of all the important laws for each state regarding security deposits. Please also note that sometimes cities and towns have their own laws which may offer more protections to tenants than the state law. It’s more likely that this is the case if you live in a larger city like New York City. 

You might notice that some states have more specific laws than others. If a state does not make a specific statement about something, it’s likely that there is not a restriction in place. For example, if a state’s law does not mention that pet deposits are prohibited, then it probably means that landlords are allowed to charge pet deposits.

Before you find your state on the list below, make sure you’re familiar with a few terms we use in this article.

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Security Deposit Basics

What is a security deposit?

Security deposits are paid to cover any potential damage done to the apartment, or, to cover the rent in the event that you’re unable to pay at some point during the rental period. A security deposit is usually required up front when you’re renting an apartment or house in addition to the first month’s rent, and sometimes the last month’s rent as well. Please note that it isn’t legal everywhere for landlords to charge last month’s rent.

What is the difference between prepaid rent and a security deposit?

The main difference between prepaid rent and a security deposit is that a security deposit can be used to cover either unpaid rent, or damages to the apartment. Prepaid rent can only be used to cover rent. Charging prepaid rent—as in the practice of collecting last month’s rent in addition to the security deposit—is not legal in all states, so make sure you look closely at the laws in your state. 

What are pet deposits and pet fees? 

In some states, landlords are allowed to charge “pet deposits” or “pet fees” if you bring a pet to live with you. A pet deposit is an amount of money you hand over to the landlord, just in case there is damage done to the property by your pet. A pet fee is an amount of money that the landlord charges and keeps regardless of whether damage is caused to the rental unit by your pet. If you have a service animal, check with your state’s Attorney General’s office to find out if landlords are allowed to charge you a deposit or fee as part of a rental agreement. 

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Security Deposit Laws by State

What is the most a landlord can charge for a security deposit? Read on to find out what the law is in your state.

Alabama

Landlords may not charge more than the equivalent of one month’s rent as a security deposit. However, there is not a limit to the amount of “prepaid rent” (i.e. last month’s rent) a landlord can collect. They may also collect a pet deposit when appropriate. 

Alaska

Where the rental unit is less than $2,000 per month, the landlord cannot charge more than the equivalent of one month’s rent as a security deposit. However, the landlord is allowed to collect “prepaid rent”. They may also collect a pet deposit equaling no more than one month’s rent. Landlords may not collect pet deposits for service animals. 

Arizona

In Arizona, the amount of money a landlord can charge up front cannot exceed 1.5 months’ rent. This includes both the security deposit and any prepaid rent. 

Arkansas

Landlords may charge the equivalent of up to two months’ rent as a security deposit. However, this law only applies to landlords who rent more than six dwellings. 

California

The equivalent of up to two months’ rent may be charged as a security deposit for an unfurnished apartment. The equivalent of up to three months’ rent may be charged as a security deposit for a furnished apartment. Landlords are also allowed to collect prepaid rent (i.e. last month’s rent) in CA. 

Colorado

In Colorado, there is no limit to how much a landlord may charge as a security deposit. 

Connecticut

Landlords may charge the equivalent of up to two months’ rent as a security deposit. However, if the tenant is 62 years or older, the landlord may only charge the equivalent of one month’s rent. Landlords are also allowed to charge prepaid rent (i.e. last month’s rent).

Delaware

Landlords may not charge more than the equivalent of one month’s rent as a security deposit, unless the rental unit is furnished. If the unit is furnished, there is not a limit. 

Florida

There is no limit to the amount a landlord may charge for a security deposit. 

Georgia

In the state of Georgia, there is not a limit to how much landlords may charge for a security deposit. 

Hawaii

Landlords are only allowed to collect the equivalent of one month’s rent for the security deposit. They may not collect any additional money, like prepaid rent or the cost of making keys. 

Idaho

There is not a limit to what landlords may charge for a security deposit. They may also charge prepaid rent in addition to the security deposit if they choose to. 

Illinois

There is not a limit to what landlords may charge for a security deposit. It does not appear that anything restricts landlords from charging prepaid rent. 

Indiana

Indiana law does not specify any limit on how much landlords may charge tenants for a security deposit. 

Iowa

Landlords in Iowa may not charge more than the equivalent of two months’ rent for a security deposit. 

Kansas

The state of Kansas allows landlords of unfurnished rental units to collect security deposits equaling no more than one month’s rent. If the rental unit is furnished, they may collect up to 1.5 months’ rent. Landlords are allowed to charge an additional security deposit of up to half of one month’s rent if the tenant has a pet.

Kentucky 

The state of Kentucky does not place any limits on how much a landlord may charge for a security deposit. 

Louisiana

The state of Louisiana does not place any limits on how much a landlord may charge for a security deposit.

Maine

Maine landlords may not charge more than the equivalent of two months’ rent for a security deposit. Please note that this law does not apply if the building has fewer than five units, one of which is inhabited by the landlord. 

Maryland

In Maryland, landlords may charge the equivalent of up to two months’ rent. There is a steep penalty for landlords who overcharge. When landlords overcharge they have to pay back up to three times the monthly rent plus attorney fees.


Massachusetts

Landlords may charge the equivalent of one month’s rent. They may, however, charge you for last month’s rent and the cost of a lock and key.  

Michigan

Landlords may charge up to the equivalent of one and one half months’ rent for a security deposit. 

Minnesota

The State of Minnesota does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit

Mississippi

The State of Mississippi does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. 

Missouri

Landlords are not permitted to charge more than the equivalent of two months’ rent for a security deposit. 

Montana

The State of Montana does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

Nebraska 

In Nebraska, landlords may charge up to the equivalent of one month’s rent as a security deposit. They may also charge pet deposits, but the amount cannot exceed ¼ month’s (approximately one week) rent. 

Nevada

The total amount that landlords can collect up front cannot exceed the equivalent of three months’ rent. That includes the security deposit and any prepaid rent (i.e. last month’s rent). If the landlord agrees, the tenant also has the option of purchasing a surety bond instead of putting down a deposit. 

New Hampshire

Landlords may collect no more than the equivalent of one month’s rent as a security deposit. However, this law only applies to landlords who own six or more rental units. 

New Jersey 

Landlords may not collect the equivalent of more than 1.5 months’ rent as a security deposit. This amount also includes pet deposits and any prepaid rent (i.e. last month’s rent). In other words, the landlord cannot charge a pet deposit on top of a 1.5 month security deposit. 

New Mexico 

In New Mexico, landlords may charge “reasonable” security deposit amounts for lease agreements lasting more than one year. The law does not specify what “reasonable” means. If the rental agreement is for less than one year, then the landlord cannot charge more than the equivalent of one month’s rent. 

New York

The state of New York allows landlords to charge only the equivalent of one month’s rent as a security deposit, and they are not permitted to charge any prepaid rent (i.e. last month’s rent). It is also illegal to charge tenants for the cost of keys in NY.

North Carolina 

Landlords can charge up to the equivalent of two months’ rent for a security deposit. However, if a tenant is in a month-to-month arrangement they can only charge 1.5 months’ rent. If a tenant is in a week-to-week arrangement, they can only charge two weeks’ rent. Landlords in NC can also charge a non-refundable pet fee on top of the security deposit. The law states that the pet fee must be a “reasonable” amount, but does not set a specific limit. 

North Dakota

Landlords can charge a security deposit equal to one month’s rent. They are also allowed to charge a pet fee on top of the security deposit. ND landlords can also require up to two months’ rent as a security deposit if the tenant has a felony conviction. 

Ohio

The State of Ohio does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

Oklahoma

The State of Oklahoma does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

Oregon

The State of Oregon does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. The law does specifically state that no fee can be charged for service animals and companion animals used by tenants with disabilities. 

Pennsylvania 

Landlords in PA can charge the equivalent of up to two months’ rent for a security deposit. 

Rhode Island 

Landlords may charge the equivalent of up to one month’s rent for a security deposit. They are also permitted to request prepaid rent (i.e. last month’s rent). 

South Carolina

The State of South Carolina does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

South Dakota

The State of South Dakota does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

Tennessee 

The State of Tennessee does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

Texas

The State of Texas does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

Utah

The State of Utah does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

Vermont

The State of Vermont does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

Virginia

Landlords in Virginia may charge the equivalent of up to two months’ rent for a security deposit. 

Washington

The State of Washington does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

West Virginia

The State of West Virginia does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

Wisconsin

The State of Wisconsin does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

Wyoming

The State of Wyoming does not place limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

The best way to be sure you’re being treated fairly and legally by your landlord is to know your rights as a tenant. We hope you found the answers you were looking for!

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