A Security Deposit Receipt is sent by a landlord to a tenant as proof of a tenant’s payment of their security deposit. It also includes information as to where the deposit is being held for the duration of the lease term.
Why Prepare a Security Deposit Receipt?
At the beginning of a lease, tenants are typically required to provide a refundable security deposit. The security deposit is commonly provided to secure payment for potential damages the landlord might incur during a tenant’s lease. Ideally, it is a financial incentive for the renter to maintain the property and keep the terms of the lease.
When a tenant provides a security deposit, a landlord will usually provide the tenant a security deposit receipt as proof of their payment. Here are some specific reasons why a landlord should prepare a Security Deposit Receipt after receiving a tenant’s security deposit:
- Documentation – Providing a receipt when receiving a security deposit provides written documentation that the landlord received a tenant’s security deposit. This helps keep communication clear and, if there is a later dispute, this receipt may be helpful for both the landlord and tenant.
- Provides Tenant with Additional Information – The Security Deposit Receipt also provides additional information to the tenant such as bank account information for where the security deposit will be held.
- Legal Requirement – In the following nine states a security deposit is required: (1) Florida, (2) Kentucky, (3) Maryland, (4) Massachusetts, (5) Michigan, (6) New Hampshire, (7) New York, (8) North Carolina, and (9) Washington. A receipt is also required in Washington D.C.
What to Include in a Security Deposit Receipt
A Security Deposit Receipt will provide confirmation and additional details on the receipt of a tenant’s security deposit and should include the following:
- Tenant’s name and current address
- A friendly greeting to the tenant
- Security deposit amount
- The date the security deposit was received
- The date the landlord deposited these funds
- The bank account where the security deposit is being held along with the bank’s complete address and the account number
- Confirmation that the security deposit will be held in this separate bank account for the duration of the lease term
- The date the lease agreement was signed
- Landlord’s name and signature
A copy of this receipt should be filed with a notation of the means used to deliver the receipt and any other relevant information such as how the landlord was paid (e.g., cash, check, credit card, etc.).
Sending a Security Deposit Receipt to a Tenant
While many states do not have a specific requirement for when this receipt must be sent, it should be provided to the tenant as soon as possible after they provide their security deposit.
This receipt should be delivered in a way that requires signature confirmation when received, such as certified mail. Even better if a landlord sends it by restricted certified mail which requires the tenant to be the only person that can sign for the receipt. To ensure it was received you can also send an additional copy via email or provide it in person.
Security Deposit Limits
There are other important items to consider when it comes to security deposits. Landlords also need to know how much of a security deposit they can request. Maximum security deposits are governed by state law. See the chart below for every state’s requirements for security deposit limits.
|State||Security Deposit Limit|
|Alabama||1 month’s rent|
|Alaska||2 months’ rent|
|Arizona||2 months’ rent|
|Arkansas||2 months’ rent only for rentals with landlords who have 6 units or more|
|California||2 months’ rent (unfurnished unit); 3 months’ rent (furnished unit)|
|Connecticut||2 months’ rent but for tenants 62 years of age or older, 1 month’s rent|
|Delaware||1 month’s rent only for leases with a term of 1 year or more; For month-to-month tenancies, no limit for the first year, but after that, the limit is one month’s rent|
|Florida||No statutory limit|
|Georgia||No statutory limit|
|Hawaii||1 month’s rent. Landlords may require an additional 1 month’s rent as a security deposit for tenants who keep a pet.|
|Idaho||No statutory limit|
|Illinois||No statutory limit|
|Indiana||No statutory limit|
|Iowa||Two months’ rent|
|Kansas||1 ½ months’ rent (furnished unit); 1 month’s rent(unfurnished unit)|
|Kentucky||No statutory limit|
|Louisiana||No statutory limit|
|Maine||2 month’s rent|
|Maryland||2 month’s rent|
|Massachusetts||1 month’s rent|
|Michigan||1 ½ months’ rent|
|Minnesota||No statutory limit|
|Mississippi||No statutory limit|
|Missouri||Two months’ rent|
|Montana||No statutory limit|
|Nebraska||1 month’s rent (no pets); 1 and 1/4 months’ rent (pets)|
|Nevada||3 months’ rent|
|New Hampshire||1 month’s rent or $100, whichever is greater|
|New Jersey||1 ½ months’ rent|
|New Mexico||1 month’s rent only for leases with a term of less than 1 year; no limit for longer leases|
|New York||1 month’s limit for units other than those subject to the City Rent and Rehabilitation Law or the Emergency Housing Rent Control Law.|
|North Carolina||1 and 1/2 months’ rent for month-to-month rental agreements; 2 months’ rent if a term is longer than 2 months; may add an additional “reasonable” non-refundable pet deposit.|
|North Dakota||1 month’s rent|
|Ohio||No statutory limit|
|Oklahoma||No statutory limit|
|Oregon||No statutory limit|
|Pennsylvania||2 months’ rent; 1 month’s rent for leases that are renewed beyond the first year|
|Rhode Island||1 month’s rent|
|South Carolina||No statutory limit|
|South Dakota||1 month’s rent|
|Tennessee||No statutory limit|
|Texas||No statutory limit|
|Utah||No statutory limit|
|Vermont||No statutory limit|
|Virginia||2 months’ rent|
|Washington||No statutory limit|
|Washington D.C.||One month’s rent|
|West Virginia||No statutory limit|
|Wisconsin||No statutory limit|
|Wyoming||No statutory limit|
Returning a Security Deposit
At the end of the lease, the landlord will be required to return the security deposit to the tenant (in some states with accrued interest) as long as there are no outstanding damages or lease violations that allow for withholding the security deposit.
If there are any deductions from the security deposit the landlord should note them in their Security Deposit Return Letter. If the landlord is not returning any of a tenant’s security deposit see our sample letter for not returning a security deposit. See the chart below for every state’s requirements for returning a tenant’s security deposit.
|State||Time to Return Security Deposit|
|Alaska||14 days with proper notice, 30 days without proper notice, or if the landlord is deducting any amount from the security deposit|
|Colorado||1 month, unless a longer period is provided in the lease agreement (no more than 60 days)|
|Connecticut||30 days, or within 15 days of receiving the tenant’s forwarding address (whichever is later)|
|Florida||15-60 days (depending on whether the tenant disputes any deductions)|
|Indiana||30-45 days (depending on whether the tenant disputes any deductions or if the landlord provided any statements or receipts)|
|Kentucky||30-60 days (depending on whether the tenant disputes any deductions)|
|Maine||30 days for a written agreement and 21 days for a tenancy at will|
|Montana||10 days (30 days if there are deductions)|
|New Hampshire||30 days|
|New Jersey||30 days|
|New Mexico||30 days|
|New York||14 days|
|North Carolina||30 days|
|North Dakota||30 days|
|Rhode Island||20 days|
|South Carolina||30 days|
|South Dakota||14 days (45 days for an itemized accounting if requested by the tenant)|
|Washington D.C.||45 days|
|West Virginia||60 days, or within 45 days of the occupancy of a new tenant (whichever is shorter). The deadline can be extended by 15 days if damage exceeds the amount of the security deposit and the landlord has to hire a contractor to fix it|
|Wyoming||30 days (an additional 30 days are allowed if there are deductions due to damage)|