How to Protect Your Security Deposit

by Hometeam Properties on January 29, 2020

890x400_featured_moneySome questions many tenants have during the leasing process have to deal with security deposits. This blog post will give you all the necessary details on how to protect your security deposit and get all of it back.

What is a security deposit?

A security deposit is a required, yet refundable, payment to a landlord in order to ensure that the rental property is not damaged and that all rent is paid during the lease term, while fulfilling any tenant responsibilities. 

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In the state of Ohio, there is no statewide limit on how much a landlord can charge a tenant as a security deposit, but most require a security deposit that is equal the cost of one month’s rent. 


When do I pay the security deposit?

Generally, landlords and property managers require the security deposit before the tenant can receive their keys. Security deposits are usually paid at the lease signing with a money order, cashier’s check, or some form of an online payment.

When will my security deposit be returned?

In Ohio, landlords must return a tenant’s security deposit within 30 days of tenant move-out. In addition, the tenant must provide the landlord, in writing, with a forwarding address where the security deposit can be sent.  

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In the state of Ohio, landlords may be able to keep all or a portion of a tenant’s security deposit for the following reasons:

If the landlord has made any deductions from the tenant’s security deposit, the landlord must include a written itemized list which spells out all deductions and the amounts charged.


What can I do to ensure my security deposit is returned?

  1. Leave the rental unit in good condition. Remove all of your belongings and then clean up the property (e.g., sweep, vacuum, wipe down counters, cupboards and walls). If you caused any damage beyond normal wear and tear (such as a hole in the wall or a stain on carpet), try to make the appropriate repairs or assume the landlord will use a portion of your deposit money to make the repairs.
  2. After you have removed your belongings and cleaned, document how you left the property by taking a video of each room, including walls, floors, windows, ceilings, as well as any appliances you used (e.g., the stove and your cleaned out refrigerator).
  3. Write a letter to your landlord to give notice of a mailing address where your deposit money can be sent. Make a photocopy of the letter for your records, and mail the letter with a certificate of mailing.

If you follow these tips  to ensure your security deposit won't be forfeited or used to cover the cost of damages when you move out of your apartment. Having the right information before you sign a lease will make the process a lot smoother.

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