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Security Deposit Laws by State (Max Deposits & Return Deadlines)

Published on: May 24, 2023

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Security deposits can be one of the most anxiety-inducing parts of renting a property—for both landlords and tenants. Landlords want to protect their investments and ensure they have enough money on hand to make necessary repairs and replacements, and tenants don’t want to unnecessarily lose their money.

The rules regarding security deposits vary from state to state, and landlords have their own requirements and preferences (ideally, within the bounds of the law) for handling these deposits. Some landlords only utilize them in case of late rent payments or damages, while others may use them for extensive cleaning between tenants.

Regardless, it is crucial for renters to understand how their security deposit will be utilized, and this information should be clearly stated in your lease agreement. Once you provide the specifics, it becomes the tenant’s responsibility to take steps to safeguard their security deposit.

This entails:

  • Timely payment of rent

  • Maintaining the property

  • Documenting the accurate condition of the property before you move in

Below, we’ve outlined each state’s specific laws regarding security deposit maximums and return deadlines.

Remember, we’re not lawyers, and this owner’s resource doesn’t constitute as legal advice. We’ve done our best to collect and verify this information, but state laws are subject to change. Nomad doesn’t guarantee the accuracy of this information. Consult local regulations or seek local counsel to confirm.

Furthermore, these are just state security deposit laws. Local jurisdictions at the city or county level may be more stringent and provide additional laws and requirements for landlords. It’s your responsibility to research, understand, and comply with local laws that regulate your property.

Security Deposit Laws by State

Alabama

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 60 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in an escrow account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide written notice of damages within 35 days of tenant move-out; tenant may dispute notice and request itemized list of deductions

Alaska

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 14 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide written notice of damages within 30 days of tenant move-out; tenant may dispute notice and request itemized list of deductions

Arizona

Maximum Security Deposit: 1.5-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 14 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Three times the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Tenant must provide written notice of forwarding address; landlord must provide itemized list of deductions within 14 days of tenant move-out

Arkansas

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in an account in a financial institution in the state

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide itemized list of deductions within 60 days of tenant move-out; tenant may dispute notice and request documentation to support deductions

California

Maximum Security Deposit: 2 months' rent (unfurnished), 3 months' rent (furnished)

Deadline to Return Deposit: 21-30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a trust account or pooled interest-bearing account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Three times the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide itemized list of deductions and receipts for repairs and cleaning; tenant may dispute notice and request documentation to support deductions

Colorado

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30-60 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Three times the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Tenant may request pre-move-out inspection; landlord must provide itemized list of deductions within 30 days of tenant move-out

Connecticut

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in an interest-bearing account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Three times the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide written notice of damages within 30 days of tenant move-out; tenant may dispute notice and request itemized list of deductions

Delaware

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 20 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide itemized list of deductions within 30 days of tenant move-out; tenant may dispute notice and request documentation to support deductions

Florida

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 15-60 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Three times the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide written notice of damages within 30 days of tenant move-out; tenant may dispute notice and request itemized list of deductions

Georgia

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide itemized list of deductions within 3 days of tenant move-out; tenant may dispute notice and request documentation to support deductions

Hawaii

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 14 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a trust account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Tenant may request pre-move-out inspection; landlord must provide itemized list of deductions within 14 days of tenant move-out

Idaho

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 21 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide itemized list of deductions within 21 days of tenant move-out; tenant may dispute notice and request documentation to support deductions

Illinois

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 45 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Tenant may request pre-move-out inspection; landlord must provide itemized list of deductions within 30 days of tenant move-out

Indiana

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 45 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate non-interest-bearing account, or the landlord must post a surety bond for the amount of the deposit

Penalty for Noncompliance: Three times damages or the amount wrongfully withheld, plus reasonable attorney's fees

Other Noteworthy Regulations: If a landlord owns more than four rental units in Indiana, they must provide tenants with a move-in and move-out inspection form that notes any existing damage and a list of any items in need of repair

Iowa

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account or surety bond

Penalty for Noncompliance: Twice the amount wrongfully withheld

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlords must provide tenants with written notice of the name and address of the bank or financial institution where the deposit is held, and the tenant's right to request a receipt verifying the deposit has been paid

Kansas

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account or surety bond

Penalty for Noncompliance: Equivalent to the amount wrongfully withheld, plus interest and reasonable attorney's fees

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlords must provide tenants with written notice of the name and address of the bank or financial institution where the deposit is held, and the tenant's right to request a receipt verifying the deposit has been paid.

Kentucky

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 60 days

Holding Requirements: No specific requirements, but if the deposit is kept in an interest-bearing account, the landlord must pay the tenant 50% of the interest earned on the deposit

Penalty for Noncompliance: Damages equal to the amount wrongfully withheld, plus court costs and reasonable attorney's fees

Other Noteworthy Regulations: If a landlord owns more than one rental unit in Kentucky, they must place all security deposits in a trust account within 30 days of receipt. If a landlord owns four or more rental units, they must provide tenants with a written list of any existing damages and a list of any items in need of repair.

Louisiana

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account or surety bond

Penalty for Noncompliance: Damages equal to the amount wrongfully withheld, plus attorney's fees

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlords are required to provide tenants with a written description of the condition and cleanliness of the rental unit, including an itemization of any damage or missing items, within 10 days of move-in. Landlords must also notify tenants in writing within one month of move-out if any deductions were made from the deposit.

Maine

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 21 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account or surety bond

Penalty for Noncompliance: Twice the amount wrongfully withheld

Other Noteworthy Regulations: If a landlord owns five or more rental units in Maine, they must pay interest on the deposit at the end of each year. Maine also allows tenants to sue landlords in small claims court for up to three times the amount wrongfully withheld from the deposit.

Maryland

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 45 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account or surety bond

Penalty for Noncompliance: Three times the amount wrongfully withheld, plus attorney’s fees

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlords must provide tenants with a written list of any existing damages and a list of any items in need of repair, and must allow tenants to be present at move-in and move-out inspections. Maryland also allows tenants to sue landlords for up to three times the amount wrongfully withheld from the deposit.

Massachusetts

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate interest-bearing account in a Massachusetts bank. The account must be in the tenant's name and cannot be co-mingled with personal funds.

Penalty for Noncompliance: Three times damages (three times the amount wrongfully withheld) plus attorneys' fees and court costs

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlords must provide tenants with a written receipt for the deposit, and must also provide a receipt for any deductions from the deposit. Security deposits cannot exceed the amount of the first month's rent. If a landlord owns more than six units, the landlord must pay the tenant interest on the deposit annually at the rate of 5% or the rate of the bank in which the deposit is held, whichever is less.

Michigan

Maximum Security Deposit: 1.5-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a regulated financial institution in Michigan. Interest must be paid to the tenant annually, and must be held for at least two years.

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the amount of the security deposit, plus reasonable attorney's fees and court costs

Other Noteworthy Regulations: The landlord must notify the tenant of the name and address of the financial institution in which the deposit is held. If the rental unit has multiple tenants, the landlord may require that the tenants determine among themselves the portion of the deposit that will be returned to each tenant.

Minnesota

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 21 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a federally-insured financial institution. Interest does not need to be paid to the tenant.

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the amount wrongfully withheld, plus interest and reasonable attorney's fees

Other Noteworthy Regulations: The tenant may request a pre-move-out inspection to determine the condition of the rental unit and identify any potential deductions from the deposit. The landlord must provide a written statement of the reason for any deductions from the deposit within 21 days of the tenant vacating the premises. If a landlord owns more than 10 units or is a corporation, the landlord must pay interest on the deposit annually at the rate of 1% or the rate of the bank in which the deposit is held, whichever is greater.

Mississippi

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 45 days

Holding Requirements: There are no specific regulations regarding how landlords must hold security deposits during tenancy.

Penalty for Noncompliance: Triple the amount wrongfully withheld

Other Noteworthy Regulations: If a landlord owns more than 10 units, the landlord must pay interest on the deposit annually at the rate of 1% or the rate of the bank in which the deposit is held, whichever is greater.

Missouri

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a regulated financial institution in Missouri. The account must be in the tenant's name and cannot be co-mingled with personal funds.

Penalty for Noncompliance: Triple the amount wrongfully withheld

Other Noteworthy Regulations: The landlord must provide the tenant with a written itemization of any deductions from the deposit, and must provide receipts for any repairs or cleaning performed. The landlord must also provide the tenant with the name and address of the financial institution in which the deposit is held.

Montana

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 10 days

Holding Requirements: Landlord must hold deposit in a trust account or post a surety bond

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: If the tenant caused damage beyond normal wear and tear, the landlord can deduct the cost of repair or cleaning from the security deposit. If the tenant disputes the amount withheld, the landlord must provide an itemized list of the deductions and the cost of each. If the tenant fails to provide a forwarding address, the landlord must mail the deposit to the rental property.

Nebraska

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 14 days

Holding Requirements: Landlord must hold deposit in a federally-insured account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Either twice the amount of the deposit or actual damages, whichever is greater

Other Noteworthy Regulations: If the tenant caused damage beyond normal wear and tear, the landlord can deduct the cost of repair or cleaning from the security deposit. The landlord must provide an itemized list of the deductions and the cost of each within 14 days of the tenant's move-out. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant is entitled to the full deposit. If the tenant disputes the amount withheld, the landlord must provide receipts or estimates for the work done.

Nevada

Maximum Security Deposit: 3-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Landlord must hold deposit in a trust account

Penalty for Noncompliance: If the landlord acted in bad faith, the amount withheld plus punitive damages; if not, the amount withheld

Other Noteworthy Regulations: If the tenant caused damage beyond normal wear and tear, the landlord can deduct the cost of repair or cleaning from the security deposit. The landlord must provide an itemized list of the deductions and the cost of each within 30 days of the tenant's move-out. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant is entitled to the full deposit. If the tenant disputes the amount withheld, the landlord must provide receipts or estimates for the work done. If the tenant fails to provide a forwarding address, the landlord must mail the deposit to the rental property. If the landlord sells the property, they must either return the deposit or transfer it to the new owner.

New Hampshire

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Landlord must hold deposit in a trust account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Amount wrongfully withheld plus damages

Other Noteworthy Regulations: If the tenant caused damage beyond normal wear and tear, the landlord can deduct the cost of repair or cleaning from the security deposit. The landlord must provide an itemized list of the deductions.

New Jersey

Maximum Security Deposit: 1.5-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a NJ banking institution in the tenant's name

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Tenants can request an itemized list of any interest accrued on the deposit.

New Mexico

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a federally-insured account or surety bond

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: If the landlord fails to provide a written statement of deductions, they forfeit the right to withhold any portion of the deposit.

New York

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 14-45 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in an interest-bearing account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Actual damages or $250, whichever is greater

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlords must disclose the name and address of the banking institution where the deposit is held, as well as the interest rate and the amount of interest to be paid to the tenant.

North Carolina

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a trust account separate from landlord's personal account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlords must provide an itemized list of deductions and costs within 30 days of lease termination. Failure to provide an itemized list forfeits any right to retain any portion of the deposit.

North Dakota

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in an interest-bearing account

Penalty for Noncompliance: If willful: 3x the deposit amount. If not willful: actual damages or $200

Other Noteworthy Regulations: If the tenant requests it, the landlord must provide a written statement of the deductions from the deposit, along with any receipts or invoices for repairs or cleaning.

Ohio

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in an interest-bearing account

Penalty for Noncompliance: If not returned within 30 days: double the amount of the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlords can withhold all or a portion of the deposit if they give written notice and an itemized list of deductions within 30 days of termination of the lease.

Oklahoma

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 45 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account or surety bond

Penalty for Noncompliance: Landlord forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlords must disclose in writing the terms and conditions under which a deposit is held, as well as the name and address of the banking institution where the deposit is held.

Oregon

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 31 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in an interest-bearing account

Penalty for Noncompliance: If not returned within 31 days: double the amount of the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlords must provide an itemized statement of any deductions within 31 days of lease termination. Tenants have the right to be present at the final inspection.

Pennsylvania

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in an escrow account or surety bond

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlords must provide a written list of any damages or deductions taken from the deposit within 30 days of lease termination. Tenants have the right to be present at the final inspection.

Rhode Island

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 20 days

Holding Requirements: Landlord must provide written notice of bank holding deposit and interest rate within 10 days of receipt. Tenant has 5 days to object.

Penalty for Noncompliance: Actual damages or 3 times the deposit amount, whichever is greater

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide written receipt stating the condition and cleanliness of the unit within 10 days of lease start. Tenant must provide written notice of damages within 5 days of move-in to be protected. Tenant must provide forwarding address within 4 days of move-out.

South Carolina

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 20 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in an interest-bearing account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide a receipt for the deposit.

South Dakota

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Triple the amount of the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Tenant must provide a forwarding address.

Tennessee

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 14 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: N/A

Texas

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account or posted bond

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord may deduct unpaid rent or damages from deposit.

Utah

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Three times the amount of the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide written itemization of deductions.

Vermont

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 30 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a trust account

Penalty for Noncompliance: No statutory penalty

Other Noteworthy Regulations: N/A

Virginia

Maximum Security Deposit: 2-months rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 14 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord may deduct unpaid rent or damages from deposit.

Washington

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 45 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: If the deposit is wrongfully withheld, tenant may recover 2x

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord must provide a written statement of any deductions.

West Virginia

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 14 days

Holding Requirements: Landlord must hold deposit in a trust account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Tenant must provide a written request for the deposit.

Wisconsin

Maximum Security Deposit: 1-month rent

Deadline to Return Deposit: 60 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Landlord may deduct unpaid rent or damages from deposit.

Wyoming

Maximum Security Deposit: No statutory limit

Deadline to Return Deposit: 21 days

Holding Requirements: Must be held in a separate account or posted bond

Penalty for Noncompliance: Double the deposit

Other Noteworthy Regulations: Tenant may object to deductions within 15 days of receipt.

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