Can Landlord Ask for More Than Deposit

In some situations, a landlord can request additional funds beyond the standard security deposit. This can occur if the tenant causes damages to the property that exceed the amount covered by the deposit. It is common for landlords to ask for a pet deposit to cover potential damages caused by pets. In certain cases, a landlord may charge a higher security deposit for tenants with a history of causing property damage or not paying rent on time. State laws or local regulations can also impact the amount a landlord can ask for as a deposit. If you have any questions or concerns regarding additional charges, it is crucial to communicate with your landlord or refer to your lease agreement for more information.

Security Deposit Limits

In most states, there are limits on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. These limits vary from state to state, but they typically range from one to two months’ rent. In some cases, landlords may be able to charge more than the security deposit limit if they can demonstrate that the additional amount is necessary to cover potential damages.

  • Check your state’s laws:
    The first step is to check your state’s laws to see what the security deposit limits are. You can find this information on your state’s attorney general’s website or by contacting your local housing authority.
  • Negotiate with your landlord:
    If you find that your landlord is charging more than the security deposit limit, you can try to negotiate with them to lower the amount. Be prepared to provide evidence that the amount is excessive, such as a copy of your state’s laws or a letter from your housing authority.
  • File a complaint with the appropriate agency:
    If you are unable to reach an agreement with your landlord, you can file a complaint with the appropriate agency. In most states, this is the state attorney general’s office or the local housing authority.
Security Deposit Limits by State
StateSecurity Deposit Limit
CaliforniaTwo months’ rent
FloridaOne month’s rent
IllinoisTwo months’ rent
New YorkOne month’s rent
TexasOne month’s rent

In addition to the security deposit limit, there are also a number of other things that landlords are prohibited from doing with security deposits. For example, landlords cannot:

  • Use the security deposit for anything other than covering damages to the property.
  • Charge a non-refundable security deposit.
  • Keep the security deposit after the tenant has moved out without providing a written explanation of any damages that were deducted from the deposit.

If you believe that your landlord has violated any of these rules, you should contact your local housing authority or the state attorney general’s office.

Additional Fees and Charges

In addition to the security deposit, landlords may be permitted to charge tenants other fees, such as:

  • Application fees:
    A non-refundable fee that covers the cost of processing a tenant’s rental application. This fee is often used to cover the cost of background checks, credit checks, and other screening procedures.
  • Move-in fees:
    A one-time fee that is charged to tenants when they move into a rental unit. This fee may cover the cost of cleaning, painting, or other move-in expenses.
  • Pet fees:
    A monthly or annual fee that is charged to tenants who have pets. This fee may help to cover the cost of any damage caused by the pet.
  • Late fees:
    A fee that is charged to tenants who fail to pay their rent on time. This fee is typically a percentage of the monthly rent.
  • NSF fees:
    A fee that is charged to tenants who write bad checks. This fee is typically a flat fee.
  • Returned check fees:
    A fee that covers the charges and expenses associated with returned checks and is assessed to the person or entity who wrote the check.

It is important to note that the specific fees and charges that a landlord is permitted to charge will vary depending on the state or locality in which the rental unit is located.

Security depositTo cover the cost of any damage to the rental unit caused by the tenantYes, minus the cost of repairs
Application feeTo cover the cost of processing the tenant’s rental applicationNo
Move-in feeTo cover the cost of cleaning, painting, or other move-in expensesNo
Pet feeTo cover the cost of any damage caused by the petSometimes
Late feeTo penalize the tenant for paying rent lateNo
NSF feeTo cover the bank charges associated with a bad checkNo

Can a Landlord Ask for More Than the Deposit?

In some cases, a landlord may ask for more than the security deposit to cover unpaid rent and damages. Landlords are legally entitled to collect unpaid rent and charges for damages beyond the security deposit. The specific rules and procedures for collecting these additional amounts vary by state and local laws.

Unpaid Rent

  • Landlords can charge late fees for unpaid rent.
  • Late fees are typically a percentage of the monthly rent, such as 5% or 10%.
  • Landlords can also file a lawsuit to collect unpaid rent.
  • If a tenant is evicted for non-payment of rent, the landlord can also seek reimbursement for court costs and other expenses.


  • Landlords can charge for damages to the property beyond normal wear and tear.
  • Damages can include things like broken windows, holes in the walls, and damaged appliances.
  • Before charging for damages, landlords must typically provide the tenant with an opportunity to inspect the property and contest the charges.
  • Landlords can file a lawsuit to collect for damages if the tenant refuses to pay.
StateMaximum Security DepositAdditional Charges Allowed
CaliforniaTwo months’ rentLate fees, damages, and cleaning fees
New YorkOne month’s rentLate fees and damages
TexasNo limitLate fees, damages, and cleaning fees

It’s important for both landlords and tenants to understand the laws and procedures regarding security deposits and additional charges. This information can help prevent disputes and ensure that both parties are treated fairly.

Request for Additional Deposit Upon Lease Renewal

As a landlord, requesting an additional deposit beyond the initial deposit paid at the start of a tenancy raises concerns regarding the legality and the rights of both the landlord and the tenant. Understanding your local rental laws, communicating effectively, and adhering to legal requirements are crucial in addressing such matters.

Factors Governing the Request

  • Changes in Market Rates: Over time, rental rates may increase due to factors such as inflation, rising property values, or improved amenities in the area. A landlord may consider requesting an additional deposit to align with the current market rates.
  • Renewal of Lease: The lease renewal process often involves reevaluating the terms and conditions of the tenancy, including the rent and deposits. A landlord may request an additional deposit to protect their interests and account for potential maintenance or repair costs.
  • Tenant’s Credit and Payment History: If the tenant has a history of late or missed rent payments, the landlord may request an additional deposit as a security measure to cover potential losses or damages.

Legal Considerations

The legality of requesting an additional deposit beyond the initial deposit varies across jurisdictions. In some areas, such requests may be prohibited, while in others, landlords are permitted to ask for an additional deposit under specific conditions:

StateLegality of Requesting Additional DepositConditions
FloridaAllowedMust be reasonable and justified, such as increased property taxes or major repairs
New YorkAllowedCannot exceed one month’s rent, must be requested in writing

Effective Communication and Documentation

  • Written Notice: When requesting an additional deposit, the landlord should provide a written notice to the tenant. This notice should clearly state the amount of the additional deposit, the due date, and the reason for the request.
  • Open Discussion: Engaging in open and respectful communication with the tenant is essential. The landlord should explain the rationale behind the request and address any concerns or questions the tenant may have.
  • Record Keeping: Maintaining accurate records of all communications, including written notices, emails, and phone calls, is crucial to protect the landlord’s interests in case of disputes or legal proceedings.

Adhering to Legal Requirements

When requesting an additional deposit, landlords must comply with all applicable laws and regulations. These may include providing written notice, limiting the amount of the additional deposit, and following specific procedures for handling deposits.

Failure to adhere to legal requirements may result in legal consequences, including fines, penalties, or even the loss of the right to collect the additional deposit.