With skyrocketing housing prices and a stalled market for the construction of starter homes, more people are renting. In Ohio, a landlord can charge a security deposit in addition to monthly rent.
Each landlord must follow specific rules about your security deposit. Knowing them might keep you from losing money when your lease ends and you move out.
Reasons why a landlord can keep a security deposit
There is no limit to the amount a landlord can charge for a security deposit, although it is the industry standard to charge the equivalent of one-month’s rent.
If you submit a security deposit of more than $50 or have a lease of longer than six months, the landlord must pay interest on the security deposit of 5 percent per year.
If the landlord sells the building, they must either return the security deposit to you and notify the new owner of the transfer, or transfer the security deposit to the new owner and notify you of the transfer.
There are four reasons why a landlord can retain all or some of your security deposit:
- Unpaid rent
- Unpaid utilities
- Late fees
- Damage in excess of normal wear and tear
If the landlord makes any deductions from your security deposit, they must include a written, itemized list that defines all the deductions and amounts charged. The landlord cannot charge for basic cleaning, so any cleaning costs need to be specified.
When you move out, you must give the landlord your forwarding address in writing. If you do, then the landlord has 30 days to return your security deposit.
If you provide a forwarding address in writing and the landlord doesn’t repay you within 30 days and provide a list of deductions, you can sue for twice the detained amount plus reasonable attorney’s fees.
If you or a loved one is fighting with a landlord over security deposits, there is no harm in talking with a qualified, experienced attorney to know your rights.