If you are going to rent an apartment, condo or home in California, then you will probably be asked to verify your commitment by signing paperwork, paying at least a month’s rent ahead of time, and putting down a security deposit.
You may be wondering why you need a security deposit if you are already giving the landlord a month of rent up front. It may seem like an unfair practice to you, especially if you weren’t asked for a deposit at your previous residence or this is your first time renting a property. So it’s important to understand the laws, because you want to be sure you are treated fairly within those laws.
Are security deposits a legal practice?
In California, landlords can ask you for a security deposit as part of your residential lease or agreement. In fact, most landlords do, because it protects them in the event you damage the property and they have to repair it – or in the event you abandon the lease without paying.
Security deposits are the legal way for landlords to ensure you are serious about renting their property, too. If you can commit extra finances up front, then the landlord gets a little peace of mind with you as a tenant.
If you pay a security deposit, then you may be more likely to take care of the property, since the deposit is typically returned after you move out (in most situations).
Security deposits are legal here in California; so don’t be alarmed if your landlord requests one from you. It’s all in the name of protecting the property you are about to call your home.
For more information about security deposits and other rental concerns, head over to our section on Landlord/Tenant Laws.