When moving into a new apartment, you’ll typically need to pay a security deposit upfront. The security deposit protects your landlord financially if you fail to pay your rent or damage the apartment at some point during your lease. But, more often than not, you can get your security deposit back at the end of your lease if you keep the apartment in good condition and stay current on your rental payments. 

What is a Security Deposit for an Apartment? 

A security deposit is a set amount paid by the renter to the landlord at the beginning of a lease. The security deposit is usually equal to one month’s rent, but it can vary depending on the circumstances. In rare cases, a landlord may ask for two months’ rent as a security deposit. 

The landlord keeps the apartment’s security deposit for the length of the lease. After you move out, the landlord will return the whole or a partial amount to you, depending on what types of repairs are needed for the apartment. In cases of extreme damage, you may not get a security deposit refund at all. 

The specifics of security deposits may vary state by state, but in Virginia, a landlord cannot ask for more than two months’ rent as a security deposit. Furthermore, a landlord cannot take longer than 45 days to return it after a resident moves out. Check your state’s laws about security deposits to make sure you know what you are and are not protected for. 

What Does a Security Deposit Cover? 

Apartment security deposits cover the potential expenses that your landlord might incur. They are often used to repair the apartment between residents. If you keep your apartment in good condition, your landlord will not have to use the security deposit for any repairs. As a result, you’re likely to have it returned to you at the end of your lease. 

Security deposits are also designed to cover unpaid rent month if you break your lease and leave the apartment early. The security deposit covers a portion of the landlord’s income loss as they search for a new renter. 

When Do You Pay a Security Deposit for an Apartment? 

You’ll need to pay your security deposit before you move into the apartment. Typically, you’ll make the payment after you sign the lease and at the same time you pay the first month’s rent. Most landlords require your rent and security deposit before giving you the keys to the apartment. Be sure to check with them to see what payment methods they accept. 

Rent Your Next Home with Southern Management

Looking for a new apartment in the Washington, D.C. or Baltimore metro areas? Southern Management has your back. With communities throughout the DMV area, we’re here to help you find a new place to call home. Explore our apartment communities throughout the area and contact us today to learn more or schedule a tour.