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What is the maximum amount a landlord may require a tenant to pay for a security deposit

A Residential property is broadly defined to include all dwellings.  The maximum amount a landlord may require a tenant to pay for a security deposit is highly regulated. Residential landlords are limited to a maximum security deposit equal to two month’s rent for unfurnished units and three months’s for furniture in its Cal. Civ Code 1950.5(c).  These limits cannot be waived by tenant.  While the landlord may describe some of the security deposit as “last month’s rent, “cleaning deposit” or “pet fee”, the landlord may not collect or demand any additional amounts for these categories. Cal. Civ. Code 1950.5(c)

In addition to the security deposit, a landlord may collect the first month’s rent in advance. Other than the first month’s rent, advance rent payment may be required only if (1) the amount pre-paid is six months or more rent (2) the term of the lease is six months or longer. Cal. Civ. Code 1950.5(c)

Furthermore, landlords may also charge a non refundable screening fee.  This permissible fee was limited to $30.00 (in 1996) but may be increased annually commensurate with an increase in the Consumer Price Index after January 1, 1998.  The application screening fee may not exceed the “actual out-of-pocket costs gathering information concerning the applicant.”  Cal. Civ. Code 1950.6(a)

Posted by: Sue Carrell and Associates on July 31, 2014
Posted in: Uncategorized