A security deposit is money your landlord asks for before you can move into a property.  It is sometimes called escrow.  The purpose of the security deposit is to protect the landlord if the tenant damages the property or fails to pay rent owed the landlord.  The Security Deposit Lawpdf-icon is part of the Landlord-Tenant Act.

Your landlord may not ask for a security deposit greater than two months’ rent for the first year of your lease and can only keep one month after that.

Sometimes a landlord will ask you to pay a security deposit plus the last month’s rent.  Even if this is what the landlord calls it, this last month’s rent payment is still part of your security deposit. After the first year of your lease, a landlord must return one of those month’s security if two were initially collected.

Your security deposit can be increased when your rent goes up during the first five years of your lease but not after that.

If you move out and leave a forwarding address your landlord must provide an itemized list of any deductions and return the balance of you deposit within 30 days. Your landlord can deduct for rent owed and for the repair of damage beyond normal wear and tear. If you do not hear from your landlord, you can sue in Municipal Court for twice your full deposit.