Paying a security deposit is very common for a rental in Ohio. Landlords charge these deposits to help cover the costs of any damage you may do while living in the property. Usually, the amount you pay for your security deposit is equal to a month’s rent. The landlord must put this money away. He or she cannot use it for any purpose. When you move out, the landlord should return this money to you.

However, according to the Ohio State Bar Association, there are a couple of situations that would allow your landlord to keep part or all of your rental deposit. Your landlord has 30 days to refund your deposit from the date you move out. If he or she keeps part or all of your deposit, he or she must provide you with an itemized written statement giving the reason and what the money was spent on.

Your landlord may keep your deposit for any unpaid rent and any damages that you did to the rental beyond normal wear and tear.  In addition, if you do not provide the landlord with a forwarding address at which to send the deposit, he or she does not have to take steps to find you and can keep it.

Normal wear and tear is any wear that happens naturally due to age. For example, carpet wears out over time. It does not include normal routine maintenance that your landlord may do before renting again, such as repainting. It does include damages you caused to the rental. This information is for education and is not legal advice.