In Kansas, the collection and return of security deposits are primarily regulated under KS Stat. § 58-2550. These laws provide a set of rules that Kansas landlords and property managers have to follow to protect all parties.
Maximum Security Deposit Charge in Kansas
In Kansas, the maximum security deposit that may be charged is one month’s rent if unfurnished or one and one-half months’ rent if furnished.
A municipal housing authority (which is entirely or partially subsidized by aid from the federal government) may demand a security deposit in accordance with the housing authority. (KSA 58-2550(a)).
Additional Pet Deposit Limit: Under Kansas law, the landlord may ask for an additional pet deposit in the amount of an additional half-months’ rent. However, people with disabilities who use service animals are entitled to full and equal access to housing. Thus, the tenant may not be discriminated against and the landlord may not require the tenant to pay extra to have a service animal. If the service animal causes damage to the rental unit, the tenant is liable to pay for any damages.
The Federal Fair Housing Act requires housing facilities to allow tenants who use service dogs and emotional support animals to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their home.
Security Deposit Withholding for Wrongfully Quit Dwellings in Kansas
If a tenant wrongfully quits the lease by:
- Abandoning the property without proper notice; or
- Fails to agree by the terms of the rental agreement to give notice of an absence of seven days or more.
The landlord may retain the entire security deposit and still be allowed to collect the last month’s rent. This essentially forfeits the tenant’s security deposit rights.
Move-In Inspection Requirement in Kansas
If a landlord is collecting a security deposit, they are required to complete a move-in checklist within five days of move-in that denotes the existing conditions of the property before the tenant takes possession of the unit. This list must be agreed upon and signed by both landlord and tenant. This report will be used at the end of the lease to identify any damages that would be cause for deductions from the security deposit.
Allowable Deductions on Security Deposits in Kansas
The landlord may use the security deposit to make deductions only after the tenant has vacated the premises. The security deposit should be used to cover:
- Unpaid rent.
- Costs of damage caused by the tenant’s failure to comply with obligations as a tenant but not those considered to be standard wear and tear.
Can the deposit be used by the tenant as last month’s rent? Kansas does not allow tenants to apply the security deposit towards the last month’s rent.
“Normal Wear and Tear” vs. Damage in Kansas
- “Normal Wear and Tear” refers to the deterioration that occurs as a result of use for which the rental unit is intended and without negligence, carelessness, accident, or misuse or abuse of the premises or contents by the tenant or members of his household, or their invitees or guests. It can include minor issues, such as gently worn carpets, loose door handles, fading wall paint and flooring, stained bath fixtures, lightly scratched glass and dirty grout that occur naturally as a result of the tenant using the property as it’s designed to be used.
- “Damage” refers to destruction to the rental unit that occurs because of abuse or negligence by a tenant during the course of the tenancy and can affect usefulness, value, normal function of the rental unit. Pet damage (heavily stained and ripped carpet), broken tiles, holes in the wall, broken windows and missing fixtures are all examples of damage.
Check out our article on wear and tear vs. damage to get a better idea of the difference.
The landlord can only charge the cost of repairs if the damage was caused by tenant negligence and/or violation of the lease.
- Keep the premises, including all plumbing fixtures, clean and safe.
- Dispose of garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner.
- Use all facilities (e.g., electrical, plumbing, heating, etc.) and appliances reasonably.
- Notify the landlord if planning to be away for more than a few days.
- Report any needed repairs as soon as possible.
- Receive written permission and confirmation from the landlord for any modifications are made to the premises.
- Comply with all terms of the rental agreement as well as the Kansas Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and any city or county laws.
- Leave the premises in the same condition it was in when it was handed to the tenant.
The tenant may not:
- Allow any person or animal on the premises that will disturb the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other tenants.
- Negligently or deliberately destroy, damage or remove any parts of the premises.
If the damage to the premises was caused by the tenant’s failure to comply with any of the above, then the landlord may take the cost of repairing it from the security deposit along with itemization of the deduction.
Returning Security Deposits in Kansas
Time Frame: A Kansas landlord should return the security deposit within 14 days from determination of deductions, with a maximum time limit of 30 days from lease termination.
If the tenant does not demand that the security deposit is returned within 30 days or provide a forwarding address, the landlord must mail the remaining balance to the tenant’s last-known address.
Failure to Return Security Deposit as Required: If the landlord refuses or fails to return the security deposit within the 14 to 30 day limit, the tenant stands to recover the withheld portion of the security deposit plus up to one and one-half times the outstanding balance, plus any legal fees associated with recovering the deposit in court, in damages if the withholding is in bad faith.
Security Deposits and Tax Filing in Kansas
Whether a security deposit will be treated as taxable or not depends on if the deposit is used or returned.
Taxable Income: Security deposits are not automatically considered income upon collection at the beginning of tenancy. They only become taxable income when the landlord no longer has any obligation to refund them (such as for settling damages incurred). At this point they may also qualify as a write-off for tax purposes as well.
Reporting Security Deposit as Income: Whether or not security deposit should be reported as income and when to do so will depend on what it is being applied to or used as. Below are three simple rules the IRS has suggested:
- If the deposit is forfeited due to a breach of the lease or applied to unpaid rent, then the amount kept should be declared as income in the year it was forfeited or applied.
- If the security deposit is used to cover expenses that are chargeable to it, then the landlord should only include the part of the deposit used as income if the landlord includes the cost of repairs as expenses. If the landlord doesn’t include them as expenses as a matter of practice, then there’s no need to include the part of the deposit kept to cover them as income.
- There is an agreement between the parties to use the deposit or part of it as the final month’s rent, then the landlord should include it as income when the same is received.
Additional Rules & Regulations in Kansas
Receipt Requirements: The landlord is not required to provide a receipt for the security deposit in Kansas.
Security Deposit Holdings in Kansas: Kansas landlords may not commingle security deposit funds with personal funds.
Security Deposit Interest in Kansas: Kansas laws do not require landlords to provide interest on held security deposits.
New Property Owner’s Responsibility: If the property changes ownership during the period of a tenant’s rental agreement, the new owner becomes responsible for the security deposit and returning it to the tenant when the lease ends, all or in part. The current landlord can refund the security deposit if the transaction occurs at the end of the tenancy.
For additional questions about security deposits in Kansas, please refer to the official state legislation, Kansas Landlord-Tenant Statutes.