About Rental Security Deposit Laws

Many landlords and tenants forget there are actual security deposit laws governing how the process of placing a deposit on a residence can legally occur. These laws are designed to protect both the landlord and the borrower. They are handled on a state-by-state basis, but the standard provisions are universal.

Items Covered During a Walk-Through

A walk-through is a visual inspection of the condition of the apartment. During a walk-through, the tenant and landlord should agree upon the general state of the apartment and its features. A checklist should be prepared so both are aware of the agreed terms.

Items Covered under Normal Wear and Tear

Upon moving out, the tenant is required to return an apartment to the walk-through condition, minus normal wear and tear. This is where the issue gets a little trickier. Each state defines wear and tear differently. For example, in California, a landlord has a right to charge a tenant for replacement of all carpets, even if there is no significant damage to the carpets. In other states, dirty carpets may be considered normal wear and tear. In Missouri, for example, vacuuming and sweeping by the tenant is all that is required.

You can check your state's security deposit laws to protect yourself if you feel you are owed your deposit in return, or if you are a landlord and want to keep the deposit.

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