A security deposit is any money paid by a tenant to a landlord that protects the landlord against damage to the rented property, failure to pay rent, or expenses incurred due to a breach of the lease. This escrowed money, which can be as high as two months of rent, often becomes a point of contention between landlords and tenants. Assuming the terms of the lease have been followed and there is no damage beyond normal wear and tear, the landlord must return a tenant’s escrowed security deposit, plus accrued interest, within 45 days following tenancy. If the landlord fails to do this without a properly documented good reason, they may be held liable for up to three times the withheld amount plus interest, court costs, and other legal fees.
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